Study on Stigma and Discrimination against Women Sex Workers in Access to Health Services in Latin America and the Caribbean


This summary presents the outcomes of a research study undertaken in 15 LAC countries with the goal of learning about health care and access to health services by women sex workers (WSW). The availability of general health care services and of those specifically designed for sex workers were studied, as well as women sex workers’ experiences of stigma and discrimination in the health sector. Each stage of the research was led by WSW and their organizations which were fully involved in the process.

This section summarizes the results of the Study on Stigma and Discrimination in Access to Health Services in Latin America, conducted as part of the Regional Project implemented by RedTraSex with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

From May to July 2013, RedTraSex leaders and a selected team of consultants coordinated the fieldwork done by women sex workers (WSW) who had previously been trained as part of the project. Data collection tools and the development of fieldwork were discussed by all the participants together and agreed upon with members of sex workers organizations during a preparatory training workshop for the survey held in Buenos Aires in May 2013.

National Coordinators and technical teams from each RedTraSex member organization were involved in collecting and systematizing data. This allowed the study to provide valid and hitherto unknwon information about the situation of WSW in the region. The involvement of members of national organizations facilitated direct access to the voices of a social group that is always rendered invisible by academic interventions claiming knowledge of what their research subjects are choosing.

The information presented here is a tool for the sensitization and advocacy work that RedTraSex has been doing for more than 15 years. With this evidence, we will be able to work even further to transform health care procedures in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and to achieve comprehensive policies that improve the conditions of life for women sex workers. To reduce women sex workers’ vulnerability in the region necessitates strengthening them as women and as activists and this requires that women sex workers themselves take the lead in implementing such programs.

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