This report provides a review of secondary resources and primary data collected from the field in 3 major towns (Addis Ababa, Shashemene and Bahir Dar). The study aims to accurately identifying laws governing commercial sex work in Ethiopia, its implementation and its impact on health and human rights outcomes on the lives of sex workers.
The report shows that commercial sex involving both adults and minors takes place relatively openly throughout cities and towns and social discrimination of sex workers and the clients is not visible. The criminal penalties are very rarely enforced. The steady flow of women into the sex trade and subsequent oversupply of commercial sex is anticipated in increase by economic conditions in Ethiopia. Current initiatives aiming to reduce those numbers by rehabilitating sex workers do not appear to be having the required impact. The report serves to show the culture of tolerance to sexual exploitation of minors and how the lack of awareness on procuring sex and exploitation of their vulnerability may make enforcement of SEAH principles to be hard to sell for staffs of aid agencies. It also shows, how the level of tolerance may limit reporting of observing such incidences by staffs.