Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 7;16(22). pii: E4343. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16224343.

Sexual Exploitation as a Minor, Violence, and HIV/STI Risk among Women Trading Sex in St. Petersburg and Orenburg, Russia.

Author information

Department of Medicine, Center on Gender Equity and Health, University of California, 9500 Gilman Dr. MC0507, La Jolla, CA 92093-050, USA.
School of Social Work, San Diego State University; 5500 Campanile Dr., Hepner Hall Room 119, San Diego, CA 92182-4119, USA.
Department of Sociology, St Petersburg University, Universitetskaya Emb., 7-9, St. Petersburg 199034, Russia.
Sociological Institute, Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, st. 7th Krasnoarmeyskaya, 25/14, St. Petersburg 190005, Russia.


Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a major risk factor for acquiring human immunodeficiency virus/sexually transmitted infections (HIV/STI), violence and other health concerns, yet few studies have examined these associations in Russia until now. This study examines the prevalence of CSE (those entering the sex trade as a minor) among women in the sex trade in Russia and how exposures and behaviors related to violence and HIV/STI structural risks differ from those who entered the sex trade as an adult. Women in the sex trade (N = 896) in St. Petersburg and Orenburg, Russia were recruited via time-location sampling and completed structured surveys. Adjusted logistic regression analyses assessed associations between CSE victimization and HIV risk-related exposures. Of the 654 participants who provided their age at first sexual exploitation, 11% reported CSE prior to age 18. Those who reported CSE were more likely to be organized by others and to be prohibited from leaving a room or house and from using condoms; three-quarters experienced rape when trading sex; a third were involved in pornography before age 18 and they had less education if they entered the sex trade as a minor. In adjusted analyses, those entering the sex trade as a minor were significantly more likely than those entering the sex trade as an adult to report drug use prior to age 18 (AOR = 5.75, 95% CI = 2.53-13.09) to have ≥5 clients/day (past 12 months; AOR = 3.55, 95% CI = 1.56-8.08), to report receiving police assistance (AOR: 3.10, 95% CI = 1.26-7.54), and to have fewer experiences of police extortion (AOR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.10-1.24). They were four times more likely to participate in pornography before the age of 18 (AOR = 4.08, 95% CI = 1.32, 12.60) and three times more likely to have been sexually abused as child (AOR = 2.93, 95% CI = 1.27, 7.54). Overall, entry as a minor was related to greater risk for victimization and an inability to protect oneself from STI/HIV.


HIV; Russia; child sexual exploitation; human trafficking; sex trade; violence victimization

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center