The introduction of technology, particularly mobile phones, in the mediation of commercial sex work (CSW) has meant that sex work is expanding from traditional venue based (such as through hotels and massage parlours) work to freelance sex work. It has also changed the face-to-face negotiation in commercial sex work to negotiations mediated online or by phone. Apart from a few programmes, interventions largely use establishments as entry points for their programming and are therefore excluding many girls and women who engage in CSW through personal contacts or facilitated by social media. This article is based on a two-year qualitative study in four districts of Nepal, in Delhi (India), and the Indo-Nepal border in eastern Nepal. It gives a short overview of the girls and their life in the adult entertainment sector (AES), which is the main entry point for CSW, and discusses how technology is increasingly used to mediate CSW. Based on our findings, which show that technology is displacing establishment-based CSW in Nepal, we argue that to ensure that we do not leave girls behind, programmes and interventions targeting venues where girls engage in CSW should re-consider their strategies for reaching girls working in the AES.
Ghimire, A., Samuels, F. and Mainali, S. (2021) ‘Changing Patterns of Commercial Sex Work Amongst Adolescent Girls in Nepal: The Role of Technology’ The European Journal of Development Research