Aim: The study aimed to investigate the drivers and lived experiences of youth female sex workers in Nekemte town, Ethiopia.
Approach: The study used a qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study with a cross-sectional design. Relevant study participants were purposively selected and in-depth interviewed supplemented with Focus Group Discussion and observation.
Findings: The study disclosed divorce and the resultant economic problems, sex workers’ family’s economic problems, lack of employment opportunities, and limitation of good paying jobs as major deriving factors for youth females’ engagement in sex work. Physical violence ascribed to refusal of payment and reluctance to use a condom; sexual violence involving rape, gang rape, and other forms of ‘culturally unfamiliar’ sexual abuses; and stigma and social exclusion were uncovered as the pronounced lived experiences of youth female sex workers.
Value: Youth females’ economic empowerment, protection of the rights of sex workers, and awareness awakenings of the larger community to avoid stigma and social exclusion inflicted upon the sex workers were suggested to address the driving factors and respond to their dreadful lived experiences. Invite of that, concerted efforts from all walks of life, including governmental organizations, development organizations, supporting actors, and other concerned bodies should be orchestrated and enhanced to tackle youth females’ entry into commercial sex work and to promote their exit from it.
Keywords: Drivers, youth female sex workers, lived experiences, Nekemte Town, Ethiopia