The objective of this article was to discuss a series of issues pertaining to outdoor sex work practiced by low-income travestis in São Paulo, Brazil. Qualitative methods conducted among this segment of the population revealed sex work as almost inseparable from the existence of travestis as a social group. Among them, the outdoor modality was the most prominent and social stigma was a predisposing factor for their entrance (and permanence) in sex work. The results showed that some of the difficulties they faced regarding work must be understood as a consequence of them being self-employed, informal workers occupying public spaces, much like street vendors. The points they shared in common with Brazilian street vendors included the struggle for street space, their rejection by local residents and shopkeepers, police persecution, and higher credit and rental expenses. All this led to mutual exploitation within the group, difficulties in changing occupations, predatory competition for customers, and difficulties in forming professional associations.
Note : it is useful to see parallels made bwetween sex work and other self employed ipeopl in informal economies such as street trading
Marcos R. V. Garcia • Yvette Piha Lehman