A study of the lived experiences of selected brothel-based sex workers in Kumasi

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The main purpose of this qualitative research was to explore the lived experiences of selected sex workers in the Kumasi, in order to understand their overall experiences beginning from their childhood right through to adulthood, including their pathways into sex work and their experiences while living as sex workers. The purposive sampling technique was used to select the six participants in this study. The main tool for the data collection was the interview guide and the interview was recorded on a tape recorder to aid the transcription and analysis of the data. The interview guide contained information on the Socio-demographic profile of the sex workers, how she came to experience prostitution and what prostitution means to her in general. Among the key finding from the study included their exhibition of high knowledge of STIs and their unyielding determination to avoid contracting STDs through the non-negotiable insistence on condom use with their clients. However, 5 out 6 participants in the study admitted a widespread incidence of condoms rupturing in their encounters or in the course of servicing the clients, thus putting them at risk of contracting STDs, the very risks they intended to avoid. In the light of this finding among others, a number of recommendations were made. A call on the government and other stakeholders to embark on rescue campaign to facilitate the exiting of many of the sex workers who wish to stop the work, was passionately made, in the light of the revelations which suggested that sex work was inherently harmful and also against the backdrop of the participants’ indication that prostituting was only transient and a means to accumulate capital to do start a legitimate business and then exit. The government can capitalise on this to meet such basic needs in order to rescue and properly integrate them into the society.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Sociology and Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Arts Degree in Sociology, 2015