The Cost of Exclusion: How Poverty Leads Transgender Individuals to Begging, Dancing and Sex Work


  • Waqas Ali Khan University of Narowal. Author
  • Qaisar Abbas University of Narowal.  Author
  • Usman Ali University of Narowal.  Author



Transgender Individuals, Poverty, Prostitution, Marginalized Communities


In Pakistan, transgender persons face severe socioeconomic burdens, including widespread poverty and violence that drive their informality in begging, dancing, and sex work. Constitutional protection has been of less support to this population in overcoming visibility and job challenges, making them economically deprived populations. This paper explores the interaction between poverty and deprivation and sheds light on the informal position of transgender people. The researcher collected the data from 344 respondents from the 36 districts of Punjab using a stratified random sampling technique to determine the main reasons for transgender persons' involvement in the shadow economy. The findings present a grim picture: Due to high rates of poverty, many people are compelled to engage in these endeavors and are deprived of decent employment opportunities. The researcher analyzed the data with chi-square and linear regression. It has been shown by statistical analysis that there exists a significant positive relationship between poverty levels and participation in begging dance and sex work (p < 0.01). Furthermore, it was found from the study that discrimination against transgender people within places of work greatly contributes to this problem, where those who faced intense forms of discrimination were 65% more likely than others to adopt such survival strategies (p < 0.05). The findings suggest that such inclusive and non-discriminatory moves would be in line with the rights and dignity of transgender persons. This study contributes to the gender, poverty, and human rights literature and outlines the need for more inclusive and fair policies for all people, regardless of gender.


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Author Biographies

  • Waqas Ali Khan, University of Narowal.

    Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Narowal. Email:

  • Qaisar Abbas, University of Narowal. 

    Department of Statistics, University of Narowal. 

  • Usman Ali, University of Narowal. 

    Department of Mass Communication and Multimedia, University of Narowal. 




How to Cite

The Cost of Exclusion: How Poverty Leads Transgender Individuals to Begging, Dancing and Sex Work. (2024). Journal of Asian Development Studies, 13(2), 208-215.

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