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Since the s, informal or clandestine sex work in the service or entertainment industry has spread from municipalities to small towns in most areas of China. Despite recognition of the important role of female sex workers in HIV and STD epidemics in China, limited data are available regarding their individual characteristics and social and environmental context of their work.
Furthermore, most existing studies on commercial sex in China have been conducted in large cities or tourist attractions. Using data from female sex workers in a rural Chinese county, the current study was designed to explore the individual profile of commercial sex workers and to examine whether the profile and sexual risk behavior differ by where the female sex workers came from and where they work.
The sample in the current study was different from previous studies in a number of key individual characteristics. The data in the current study suggest a strong association of individual profile with the economic conditions of work sites and residence status in-province residency versus out-province residence which suggests that such efforts must take the social and cultural contextual factors of their working environment and sexual risks into consideration.
While the number of infected individuals may be relatively small in a country with a population of 1. About two-thirds of infections were among individuals 20 to 39 years of age, with a male predominance. Prostitution in mainland China was declared to be eradicated in the early s. While the actual number of female sex workers in China is unknown, the number of women engaging in commercial sex in mainland China has been estimated to be from 4 to 10 million Yang et al.
Chinese women enter the sex trade through different paths or for different reasons. A small proportion of women particularly young or underage girls are deceived or forced into the trade against their will Gil et al. A large proportion is driven into the business as a result of poverty and limited employment opportunities.