Sex Worker Essay

Submitted By gauthcity
Words: 3211
Pages: 13

This essay will strive to articulate the issues relating to women and health when it comes to the occupation of sex work. How women are represented and how they represent themselves will be important elements in this essay because it will be contextualized to show the relationship between agency and structure. The forces that restrict one from making their lives better is what structure refers to, such as institutions and the political economy. On the other hand, agency is the power to be able to choose other alternatives around the structural forces in order to survive. Structural forces and agencies are different depending on the demographics so it is especially important to understand the relationship between the both to identify why marginalized people, such as female sex workers, have less health rights and have difficulties accessing health care. These structural powers, agencies, social and health determinants all play a major role in shaping the life and health of a female sex worker. To truly understand the nature of sex work, the female sex workers’ social and economic lives, their social relationships and their working environment must be examined. Various social and health determinants are involved in how a woman’s life is represented and how she represents herself. Many of these determinants are not in the control by the woman but they are heavily manipulated by the structural forces that surround her. One must look deep and beyond the woman to explore and discover why there is a lack of health rights, health access and health awareness, as a female sex worker. “At the same time, a number of structural and social problems have arisen, including widespread unemployment in some sectors (e.g. state-owned enterprises), a widening the gap between rich and poor, increasing rural-urban immigration and dramatic changes to rural family life” (Ngo, 2007:555). The female sex workers in Vietnam found themselves to be trapped in the sex industry because of a lack of other alternative options available to them. The structural forces surrounding them were not only indirectly controlling their lives, but limiting their options for health care as well, which essentially does not promote healthy living. A healthy lifestyle is not only being rid of any diseases, like the original biomedical approach proposes, but it involves many determinants that shape out a healthy lifestyle. As a sex worker, even if the woman wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, structural forces may restrict her options which then leads her to seek other agencies. “Street-level sex workers often lived in poor housing where they lacked access to clean water, electricity or sanitation. Some of them were homeless, living on street corners or in a park: 'I have to wait until night to have a shower' (Lan, 35-year-old street-walker)” (Ngo, 2007:559). “Female sex workers in Vietnam who worked publically, on their own means and choices, struggled the most compared to the sex workers who worked privately, for rich men. Their clients were often rich men who could offer them US$30-60 for each sexual encounter. They could earn money not only from providing sexual services but also from clients' tips” (Ngo, 2007:559). This comparison of street-level sex workers versus private sex workers shows the vast differences of the potential health outcomes experienced by these women because of the personal situations they are in. Most notably in developing countries, where health services are hard to afford or therefore lack of, these differences exploit the weak and create major health implications. Gender inequalities definitely exist between men and women within the Dominican because it is noticeably evident in the division of labour. “These gender inequalities inclined when the international corporations provided manufacturing and factory jobs for cheap labour” (Gregory, 2007:138). “In 1970 and 1994 many females worked in the Dominican labour force, and the