Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Jyothi Gupta, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


A considerable amount of the stigma surrounding sex work can be contributed to the misconception of why women enter or do not exit sex work. The purpose of this research was to summarize the current knowledge of sex work using the scope of occupational therapy to enhance sex workers health and well-being. To achieve this, a scope of the literature for interventions that address this issue and their effectiveness, as well as literature that addressed risk factors for entering and remaining in sex work was conducted. The original search was conducted in June of 2021 and yielded a total of 691 potential articles over five electronic databases. The total number of articles included in this scoping review was 48 articles. The articles in this scoping review were analyzed and coded using the PEO and LCHD models and ACEs. Research showed that the greatest risk factors for entering and remaining in sex work were contextual risk factors, many of which could be linked back to chronic poverty or low SES. The top six contextual risk factors for entering sex work that were identified were low SES, lack of education, substance abuse, violence, lack of family support, and homelessness. Of the interventions that were available to FSWs, the majority focused on HIV education and prevention instead of improving quality of life or creating pathways to leave sex work.