The Experiences of Latina Transgender Women in Prostitution i ...

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Abstract

This article describes the consequences of the experiences and situations for Latina transgender women in prostitution during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this research was to make this group more visible to the scientific research, which is especially lacking in Latin America. The results are based on a mixed research design corresponding with three in-depth interviews and twenty-one standardized questionnaires with migrant Latin transgender women engaged in commercial sex in Spain. The most relevant problems mentioned during the interviews and questionnaires were: a) food and housing insecurity reinforced by the pandemic, as well as other gender identity needs; b) high vulnerability to violence in addition to a lack of access to reporting and protection systems; c) decrease of physical and mental health, in addition to the lack of medical access when needed in cases of irregular situation reinforced during the lockdowns; d) social and labor discrimination, which promote the engagement in prostitution; e) economic necessity that motivates them to be involved in the sex industry; f) the presence of possible victims of human trafficking or exploitation in the sample of this study who are not detected as such. In conclusion, migrant transgender women in prostitution in Spain experienced several difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, which were related to social vulnerability.