SWASA Nepal releases a situation Assessment report on sex workers during the pandemic

2nd June, 2021 

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nepal government imposed months of lockdown starting April 2020 and a second lockdown followed from 20 September 2020 (76,257 confirmed cases and 490 deaths). In between the lockdowns, the government announced and put forward different mechanisms for prevention and control of spread of the virus. Even after the lockdown was eased, various measures were implemented to reduce physical crowding: such as using the odd and even number plates for vehicular mobility, allowing the private vehicles, opening of school in some places with the proper precaution, easing physical restrictions etc. Life in the country seemed to be crawling back to normalcy but the increasing number of infections as well as death rates gave a clear indication that the pandemic is to remain for few years. Things are changing slowly worldwide with the advent of the vaccine. The lockdown and life post the lockdown have been difficult all but it was especially hard on the poor and most vulnerable groups.

The assessment carried out both quantitative and qualitative data collection and was conducted from 1st September 2020 to 30th December 2020. The semi-structured interview was used to collect = quantitative as well as the qualitative information with the open-ended questions to cover the narratives. 690 respondents answered the questionnaire and 108 participants took part in the Focus Group Discussions (FDG) conducted across all seven provinces.

Objectives of the assessent were, 

1. To identify the immediate protection issues and the emergencies faced by female sex workers of different demographic characteristics during the pandemic period.

2. To identify the local community capabilities to address the issues of female sex workers and generate supportive evidence for future program planning.

3. To establish a pool of knowledge regarding sex workers communityin the context of Nepal and sharing it with the wider community.

The report presents data on livelyhood, logging and housing, children and other dependants, financial hardships including loans, access to health care, violence and overall challengers that female sex workrs face during the pandemic. The report also looks at challengers faced by ealderly sex workes andavailable welfare services for them.

Only 23% of the respondants have said that they could returned to their villages as the governmnet imposed the lockdown, 55% of the respondent have said that they didn't receive any payment in the work during the lockdown. 36% of the respondent have said that they did not ave access health care services and 35% of the respondents have reveled that they faced challenges when accessing reproductive health services.

Read the full report here.