An Exploratory Study of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation, Mobility and HIV Risk among Female Sex Workers along the Mexico-Guatemala Border

Funded by UC Global Health Institute Award, Center of Expertise in Migration and Health (COEMH);
PI: Dr. Shira Goldenberg

The overall goal of this project is to gather formative data regarding the context and health impacts of mobility and sex trafficking among female sex workers (FSWs) along the Mexico-Guatemala border, where the confluence of intense mobility, thriving sex industries, and drug trafficking may increase women’s risk of being trafficked into sex work and associated HIV infection. This project will also develop research and educational infrastructure, transnational collaborations, and course materials that will be used to support coursework, graduate research and internship opportunities related to the mission of the COEMH. This study aims to (1) describe patterns of mobility, sex trafficking and related HIV/STI risk among FSWs along the Mexico-Guatemala border; and (2) triangulate these findings with epidemiological data to explore the wider impacts of mobility and sex trafficking on HIV/STI risk. Data collection will include modified ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth qualitative interviews in the Mexico-Guatemala border cities of Cd. Hidalgo/Tapachula, Mexico, and Tecún Umán/Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. This study will gather data to advocate for strategies to reduce the related epidemics of sex trafficking and HIV/STIs, and will result in new transnational collaborations, research infrastructure, and hands-on student learning opportunities in support of the mission of the COEMH.