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Table 3 Distribution of select characteristics of female sex workers (FSWs) for the different durations of sex work.

From: Demography and sex work characteristics of female sex workers in India

    Duration of sex work (years)
Variable Variable categories Total (6648) >5 (N = 1499) (% of total) [% of N] >3–5 (N = 1617) (% of total) [% of N] >1–3 (N = 2419) (% of total) [% of N] ≤1 (N = 1113) (% of total) [% of N]
Type of FSW* Street-based 5010 946 (18.9) [63.1] 1196 (23.9) [74.0] 1952 (39.0) [80.7] 916 (18.3) [82.3]
  Home-based 1499 514 (34.3) [34.3] 382 (25.5) [23.6] 429 (28.6) [17.7] 174 (11.6) [15.6]
  Brothel-based 139 39 (28.1) [2.6] 39 (2.4) [2.4] 38 (27.3) [1.6] 23 (16.5) [2.1]
Literacy * Illiterate 4966 1198 (24.1) [79.9] 1244 (25.1) [76.9] 1198 (24.1) [71.4] 798 (16.1) [71.7]
  Literate 1682 301 (17.9) [20.1] 373 (22.2) [23.1] 301 (17.9) [28.6] 315 (18.7) [28.3]
Rural-urban area from where FSW was sampled*† Rural 1447 334 (23.1) [22.3] 352 (24.3) [21.8] 506 (35.0) [20.9] 255 (17.6) [22.9]
  Urban small 749 225 (30.0) [15.0] 196 (26.2) [12.1] 249 (33.2) [10.3] 79 (10.5) [7.1]
  Urban medium 2838 606 (21.4) [40.4] 695 (24.5) [43.0] 1085 (38.2) [44.9] 452 (15.9) [40.6]
  Urban large 1614 334 (20.7) [22.3] 374 (23.2) [23.1] 579 (35.9) [23.9] 327 (20.3) [29.4]
Age at starting sex work (years)*‡ 12–15 580 278 (47.9) [18.5] 151 (26.0) [9.3] 145 (25.0) [6.0] 6 (1.0) [0.5]
  16–19 1392 291 (20.9) [19.4] 281 (20.2) [17.4] 528 (37.9) [21.8] 292 (21.0) [26.2]
  20–24 2017 381 (18.9) [25.4] 434 (21.5) [26.9] 776 (38.5) [32.1] 426 (21.1) [38.3]
  25–29 1763 355 (20.1) [23.7] 486 (27.6) [30.1] 647 (36.7) [26.7] 275 (15.6) [24.7]
  30–34 692 161 (23.3) [10.7] 205 (29.6) [12.7] 238 (34.4) [9.8] 88 (12.7) [7.9]
  > = 35 203 33 (16.3) [2.2] 59 (29.1) [3.7] 85 (41.9) [3.5] 26 (12.8) [2.3]
Gap between first vaginal intercourse and sexual intercourse in exchange for money (years)*ठNone 922 355 (38.5) [23.7] 238 (25.8) [14.7] 269 (29.2) [11.1] 60 (6.5) [5.4]
  1–2 481 116 (24.1) [7.7] 109 (22.7) [6.7] 177 (36.8) [7.3] 79 (16.4) [7.1]
  3–5 1062 186 (17.5) [12.4] 201 (18.9) [12.4] 411 (38.7) [17.0] 264 (24.9) [23.7]
  6–10 2102 402 (19.1) [26.8] 485 (23.1) [30.0] 810 (38.5) [33.5] 405 (19.3) [36.4]
  11–15 1393 312 (22.4) [20.8] 387 (27.8) [24.0] 489 (35.1) [20.2] 205 (14.7) [18.4]
  >15 686 128 (18.7) [8.5] 195 (28.4) [12.1] 263 (38.3) [10.9] 100 (14.6) [9.0]
  1. *p < 0.001, Chi-square test.
  2. †Urban small were towns with population <50000; urban medium were towns/cities with population 50001 – 200000; urban large were cities with population more than 200000; this classification was done based on Census of India data for each sub-site.
  3. ‡Age at starting sex work not available for 1 FSW, and gap between first vaginal intercourse and starting sex work not available for 2 FSWs.
  4. §None: Age at the first vaginal intercourse and at starting sex work is same.