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Higher number of sex workers, report reveals

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SEX workers make up less than 0.01 per cent of Fiji's total population.

This was revealed in the recently-launched Integrated Behavioural and Biological Survey and Size Estimation of Sex Workers in Fiji HIV Prevention Project report.

The report estimated that in total, 857 female and transgender sex workers were identified as actively working in the previous two weeks before the research began on June 7, 2012.

This was over twice as many previously estimated by the sex worker community prior to commencing the count.

An additional 45 male sex workers were identified during the count — seven working in Suva, 28 in Lautoka and 10 in Nadi — although the report strongly stated this was an undercount.

The majority of sex workers were female (538) with just over a third being transgenders (319).

Three quarters were identified as iTaukei (646), with 18 per cent (153) of Indian descent.

The report stated that 46 Chinese sex workers were counted, majority of who were located in Suva and one in Lautoka.

The remaining ethnicities included those identified as mixed race (five), Rotuman (four) and Rabi (one). Suva had the highest population of sex workers (364).

These were subdivided into 240 working in Suva itself, 113 in Nasinu and 11 in Nausori. Lautoka recorded the second largest number with 255 sex workers, of which 170 worked in Lautoka, 78 in Ba and seven working mainly in Tavua.

The best estimate for Nadi was 152 sex workers, however, the report stated this was an undercount. Smaller areas like Labasa were easier to estimate reliably.

It had 58 sex workers while Savusavu had 28.

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