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Salud mental

Print version ISSN 0185-3325


RODRIGUEZ, Eva Ma. et al. Violence in the work environment of sex work and substance use in a group of Mexican women. Salud Ment [online]. 2014, vol.37, n.4, pp.355-360. ISSN 0185-3325.

Objective The aim of this paper is to explore in women sex workers the violence they experience in the exercise of their activity, and if it is associated with alcohol use and the consumption of other substances such as cocaine, mariguana and tobacco. Method This is a descriptive, non-experimental study, developed with a non-random sample of 103 sex workers selected for convenience type field. The selection criteria were being between 18 and 65 years of age, being a sex worker, and literate. An expressly designed instrument consisting of a semi-structured interview was used. Results Regarding the workplace, 50.8% of them worked in bars, 39.0% on the streets, and 10.2% in cabarets. More than a half reported having suffered violent experiences in the workplace; of these, 95.8% experienced physical violence, 26.0%, sexual violence, and 24.0%, emotional violence. Regarding the actors involved in violent episodes, they were other sex workers (97%), customers (77.2%), owners or employees of bars (30.2%), and police (25.0%). Regarding substance use, 98% of the sex workers reported having consumed alcohol in the past month; 23.3%, cocaine; and 11.7%, marijuana. Likewise, 40% smoked tobacco. Seventy-five percent of the sex workers reported being a high drinker. Most of the women reported that customers generally pressed them in to drinking alcohol and a high percentage reported that they consumed it because of the demands of bar or cabaret managers. The experiences of workplace violence were associated with cocaine use (χ2 = 6.417 [100, 1] df p <.05) and tobacco (χ2 = 7.486 [100.1] gl p <.01). This association remained if violence had occurred in the last month. Alcohol consumption was associated with experiences of physical violence (χ2 = 5.180 [100.1] gl p <.05), and emotional abuse (χ2 = 4.514 [100.1] gl p <.05). Discussion The results show that violence is a common experience in the work environment of these women, and that this is carried out by multiple actors. Findings highlight that sex workers point out to other sex workers as those who exercise more violence. High alcohol use and the use of other drugs are associated with this violence, requiring future studies to explore in-depth this link. The findings are discussed, with recommendations for the care of these problems in female sex workers.

Keywords : Work setting; violence; sex workers; addictions.

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