Evidence suggests that in India, the early stages of a woman's career as a sex worker may be an important period to target for HIV and sexually transmitted infection prevention. Before such an intervention is designed and implemented, it is necessary to first understand the life circumstances of women at the start of their sex work careers. We performed a review to bring together available literature pertaining to entry into sex work in India and to highlight knowledge gaps. We found that historical traditions of dedication into sex work, financial insecurity, family discord, violence and coercion, and desire for financial independence are commonly reported reasons for entering into sex work. We also found that families and the broader sex worker community play an important role in the early stages of a woman's sex work career. We suggest that HIV-prevention programmes in India would substantially benefit from a deeper understanding of the life circumstances of new and young women sex workers. Further research should be conducted focusing on family and community involvement in women's entry into sex work, and on the important period of time after a woman's first commercial sex encounter, but before self-identification as a sex worker.
McClarty, L.M.; Bhattacharjee, P.; Blanchard, J.F.; Lorwaya, R.R.; Ramanaik, S.; Mishra, S.; Isac, S.; Ramesh, B.M.; Moses, S.; Backer, M.L. Circumstances, experiences and processes surrounding women’s entry into sex work in India. Culture, Health and Sexuality (2014) 16 (2) 149-163. [DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2013.845692]