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Economic reasons force 400 women to sex work in Samoa

In 2016, the number of female sex workers in Samoa was estimated at around 400. The age during which some of them began sex work ranged from 13 to 21 years old.

This is according to the Multi-country Mapping and Behavioural study 2016, quoted by the Ministry of Health in their sixth annual report to UNAIDS. 

A copy of the report has been obtained by the Samoa Observer.

“The Pacific Multi-country Mapping and Behavioural Study 2016 found that there are an estimated 400 female sex workers in Samoa,” the report reads. “Most women are doing sex work for economic reasons. 

“Payment varies considerably from $50 to $200 tala." 

“These women have a wide range of clients, including local and foreign men and 58.3% had children and the majority had no other employment.” 

The study was the work of the U.N.D.P, U.N.I.C.E.F and the University of New South Wales which called for urgent need for reforms in Pacific island countries to adequately address HIV and sexually transmitted infections (S.T.Is) among vulnerable populations.  

It examined the behaviour risk factors and social and structural determinants of risk that drive the epidemic among vulnerable groups, such as men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and seafarers.

Samoa was among nine countries the Study covered.

According to the report, the number of partners some of the women have had in the last 12 months was 10. Nine were clients.

 “Only 33% of the participants used a condom on the last occasion of vaginal intercourse with a client; a majority were inconsistent condom users with clients in the last 12 months,” the report reads. 

“Condom use with casual non- paying partners was low; 50% used a condom on the last occasion.” 

The report further says that a minority of the women drank alcohol and their HIV knowledge was moderate. 

“None of the women had accessed a sexual health service in the last 12 months, although 60% had been given condoms in that period." 

“None had been tested for HIV in the previous 12 months."

Read more at Samoa Observer