Intimate partner violence against female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya

Allison P. Pack, Kelly L'Engle, Peter Mwarogo, Nzioki Kingola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Female sex workers are known to be at risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) from numerous sources including clients, pimps, boyfriends and husbands. Better understanding the factors associated with IPV in this population will enhance prevention efforts. This work examines baseline survey data collected as part of a randomised controlled trial for an alcohol-harm reduction intervention. The study sample included 619 sex workers. IPV was common in this sample, with 78.7% of women reporting any IPV in the last 30 days. Multivariate logistic regression results indicated that supporting one to two other people, experiencing child abuse, witnessing mother abuse, and greater alcohol consumption were risk factors for IPV in our sample. Women who frequented Population, Health and Integrated Assistance (APHIA) II drop-in centres located along transport corridors were also at greater risk of recent IPV, as compared with those who frequented other drop-in centres. Only one protective effect was identified in this study: condom use at last sex with a non-paying partner was associated with less recent IPV. Health programmes for women sex workers in Mombasa and elsewhere need to expand beyond HIV prevention - they need to incorporate information on violence prevention and treatment referrals, as well as information on alcohol harm reduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Kenya
  • alcohol
  • child abuse
  • female sex workers
  • gender norms
  • intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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