Where the Streetwalk Ends: Fuzzy Boundaries and Shifting Risks among Women Sex Workers in Antananarivo, Madagascar

Kirsten Stoebenau, Johns Hopkins University
Constance A. Nathanson, Columbia University

This presentation will focus on the results of an in-depth study of the social organization and hierarchy of women's sex work in the capital city of Madagascar. Research uncovered three general categories of sex work in Antananarivo including ambany (low), antontoniny (middle), and ambony (high). Women in these categories negotiate the meanings and boundaries of sex work within unique social and institutional circumstances. Ambany women are perceived slave descendants, and negotiate for survival, antontoniny women face law enforcement exposure and discovery by neighbors, and ambony women fluctuate between seeking money and romance. Their worlds are described in their own words, conveying these complex relationships and fluid boundaries. The health and social risks they endure both as women, and specifically as women sex workers in each social position are discussed. Finally, there are program implications for women's health relevant to this context as well as beyond it.

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Presented in Session 123: Gender, Sexuality, and Health