The Typology of Female Sex Workers in Dar-es-Salaam: Implications to HIV and AIDS Interventions Targeting Female Sex Workers in Tanzania
Objective: To establish the categories of female sex workers in Dar es Salaam.
Methods: We conducted in depth-interviews with 32 female sex workers (FSWs) in five geographic areas of Dar-es-Salaam known to be the primary residential and working places, three local government leaders in three of the five areas known to have brothels and two NGO representatives working with this population.
Results: There are about 14 categories of FSWs with fluid perceived ‘boundaries’, which could change given factors like the availability of clients, active prostitution control mechanisms, the weather, the female sex worker’s need for money and the type of sexual services demanded.
Conclusions: different categories provided by the study participants are only useful in the Dar-es-Salaam context but generalization to other places in Tanzania might not be quite possible. However, using these classifications provides an understanding of how they construct their real world with regard to sex work, experiences, (health) needs and shared characteristics that are important when planning for all aspects of research designs and the implementation of interventions targeting them. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), through the National AIDS Control Program (NACP), stakeholders and development partners should conduct more research in this area to generate more information that would facilitate lobbying and advocating for repealing colonial-rooted anti-prostitution laws and replacing them with policies aiming at assisting them.
Key words: Female sex work, typology of female sex workers, sex work in Dar-es-Salaam, HIV & AIDS, Tanzania.