Person:
Willman, Alys M.

Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team
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Fields of Specialization
Violence prevention; gender-based violence; youth violence; illicit economies; urban violence
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Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team
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Last updated: January 31, 2023
Biography
Alys Willman, PhD, is a Social Development Specialist for the Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention Team at the World Bank, taking responsibility for analytical and project work on urban violence, youth violence and gender-based violence. She is the co-author of Violence in the City (World Bank 2011), and Societal Dynamics and Fragility (World Bank 2012), as well as various other books and articles on urban violence, youth violence, and illicit economies. Ms. Willman has worked over a dozen countries throughout Latin America, Africa and East Asia, with NGOs, bilateral agencies and the World Bank.
Citations 128 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Safety First, Then Condoms: Commercial Sex, Risky Behavior, and the Spread of HIV/AIDS in Managua, Nicaragua
    (2008) Willman, Alys
    This study analyzes the commercial sex market in Managua, Nicaragua, to understand risky behavior among sex workers. While health risks are a major concern for sex workers, the risk of violence weighs more heavily in decision making, such that they more often take risks to their health than to their immediate, physical well-being. These concerns are reflected in the lower premiums sex workers charge for unprotected sex (39 percent more for vaginal sex without a condom) compared with risks of violence, such as accompanying a client to an unknown place (a 118 percent premium). Risk behaviors reflect a rational calculation of actual risk: while only 9 percent of the sample knew anyone diagnosed with HIV, nearly 44 percent of sex workers had been assaulted. These observations indicate the need to consider sex workers' physical safety in policies to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Publication
    Risk and Reward in Managua's Commercial Sex Market: The Importance of Workplace
    (2010) Willman, Alys
    This article focuses on the capabilities of women in sex work--a sector in which a substantial number of women in developing countries find themselves. Sex workers confront important unfreedoms-violence and disease--on a daily basis. How well sex workers can manage these threats has implications not only for the workers themselves but also their families and communities, and thus is an important concern in development policy. Using original data from Managua, Nicaragua, I show how workplace conditions determine women's autonomy to manage risks of disease and violence, including their capacity to negotiate appropriate risk compensation. I present a model of a segmented labor market, and describe how women's autonomy in choosing a particular segment is constrained by access to networks and human capital. Next, I estimate the compensation to different risks by market segment. I find that sex workers in higher-end segments are less likely than women in other segments to take risks to their health or safety, and more able to charge a high-risk premium when they do. In addition, women who enjoy more autonomy in decision-making take risks less often than those whose decisions are constrained either by a manager or by low earnings. These findings indicate the need to consider differences in workplace conditions in designing policy to expand the capabilities of women in sex work.