In Ethiopia, it is illegal to operate a brothel or procure sex workers as a commercial activity, but the sale of sex by women is not prohibited by law. Research suggests that the number of Ethiopian female sex workers is growing, with younger women and girls increasingly entering the sex trade. Public health programs and policies typically have emphasized HIV prevention in this vulnerable population. A 2014 study of 3,882 Ethiopian female sex workers found that HIV prevalence in the 10 study sites ranged from 15–33 percent, compared to national prevalence of 1.9 percent among women. Furthermore, since most female sex workers are of reproductive age, those wishing to delay or limit childbearing are at heightened risk of unintended pregnancy. Although survey data shed light on the high prevalence of pregnancy among female sex workers, little is known about the contexts in which they get pregnant and have children. An exploration of female sex workers’ reproductive history in Ethiopia will provide important information to inform the development of programs and policies that promote the comprehensive health and well-being of female sex workers.
Population Council, Miz-Hasab Research Center, and Organization for Social Services for AIDS. 2015. "Experiences with pregnancy among female sex workers in Ethiopia: A Link Up exploratory study," Study brief. Washington, DC: Population Council.