Research Talk by Dr. Iccha Basnyat

“Navigating Inequalities for Survival in Kathmandu: Lived Experiences of Former Street Based Commercial Sex Workers”


Date and Time:

Wed, 8 February, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM


CNM Playroom

AS6, #03-38

11 Computing Drive

Singapore 117416

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

National University of Singapore

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Marginalization is arguably located in political and economic systems such as: development, housing, labor, migration, education and access to health services. Impoverished structures that limits women’s education, jobs, access to resources is often manifested into commercial sex work. Therefore, this paper aims to (re)position sex work, among Nepalese women as an effect of macro policies (i.e. lack of access to education and resources) that place women in the margins. Examining lived experiences offer an entry point to locating Commercial Sex Workers (CSW) as active participants enacting agency for day-to-day living. In-depth interviews were conducted with former CSWs currently working as community mobilizers (CM) for a community based organization that reaches out to current CSW’s for voluntary testing and counseling (VCT). The interviews allowed inquire about navigating structures for day-to-day living, access to macro structures, maintaining health and long term needs. Women’s narratives illustrate that ‘reducing’ her body to a sexual function is influenced by the macro limitations within which she is bound. Yet, she engages as an active participant in every day resistive strategies within her available set of structural possibilities and limitations.


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