FRIENDS were doing it.
This was one of the top reasons why sex workers resorted to this trade, the Integrated Biological and Behavioural Survey (IBBF) and Size Estimation of Sex Workers in Fiji: HIV Prevention Project report revealed.
Of the total 298 sex workers from seven centres participated in the IBBF survey, 33 per cent said they first became a sex worker because their friends were doing it.
The second top reason was because it was a good way to earn a living (31 per cent) and because they needed to support their children/family (25 per cent).
The report revealed that sex workers appeared to have personally decided to work as sex workers because there was little evidence of coercion or being forced or sold against their will. Transgender sex workers, the report revealed, were significantly more likely than female sex workers to report they always wanted to be a sex worker while female sex workers reported it was able to support their children/family.
Participants also revealed that a friend had encouraged them to become a sex worker (70 per cent), 8 per cent said they had been forced, 7 per cent said it was a family tradition and 6 per cent said a neighbour had helped them.
About 8 per cent mentioned other means, the most common of which was they had initiated it themselves without any help from anyone (2 per cent).
The survey also revealed two thirds of participants started sex work by the time they were 20 years old. The youngest starting age reported was nine years old, with a total of 31 sex workers reporting they started working before the age of 16 years.