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To examine the mental health and functioning of female sex workers FSW in Chittagong, Bangladesh, a population that has commonly been neglected in mental health policy and research. We included women in the study M age: The comprehensive Composite International Diagnostic Interview was used to assess their month prevalence rates of DSM-IV mental disorders, and a comprehensive questionnaire was adapted to explore various factors, such as socio-demographics, working and living conditions, or experiences of abuse.
On average, participants began their commercial sex work at Their main motives for sex work were coercion In total, FSW Prevalence rates of any mental disorder and SUD were higher in women who did sex work to support their family, whereas mood disorders were more frequent in those who needed the money to pay debts.
Participants with any disorder were significantly older than those without M age: Our study revealed that FSW in Chittagong are very vulnerable and highly impaired, as expressed by high rates of abuse and mental disorders. Coercion is very common and many FSW are required to work in the sex business because they need the money to support their families. FSW are a very marginalized population, especially in the developing countries where awareness for mental health is low and the availability of mental health services is insufficient.
As a disadvantaged and marginalized population, female sex workers FSW frequently suffer from coercion, stigmatization, and severe health impairments 1 , 2. From a public health perspective, most research has focused on sexually transmitted diseases and drug abuse, but less so on mental health and contributing psychological factors. To estimate the burden of sex work on global public health, comprehensive investigations of this vulnerable and often victimized population are urgently needed 3.
Moreover, because sex work is highly dependent on socio-cultural and economic contexts, evaluations are required that focus on populations other than in Western countries. The occurrence of physical abuse was strongly related to increased rates of depression, but no associated effect was found for rape or sexual abuse.