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These statistics show just some of the violence that prostitutes face. A common response to these numbers is why don’t women just leave or stop being prostitutes. What readers have to understand is that many prostitutes do not become prostitutes because of their own choice. Many are forced into the sex-for-sale industry. This is a broad industry too. It is not just about women on the street. It is about comprehensive systems that trap women through circumstances that they cannot escape. Some prostitutes sell their body to feed their children. They have no skills; they have little education. They have no resources. Even with public assistance, many prostitutes find no hope in leaving prostitution, especially in underdeveloped nations.
In 2004, a long-term mortality study published by Potterat, et al. showed the following trends out of 1969 prostitutes from the years 1967-1999:
Prostitutes and those who had managed to leave the industry faced an increased rate of death that was 200 times the rate of death for women of the same race and age range. During the study, 100 prostitutes died. Their cause of death equated to the following: 19 homicides, 18, drug induced or overdose, 12 died from accidents, 9 deaths were alcohol related, and 8 died of AIDS.
Mortality among prostitutes is substantially higher than mortality rate of the society in which the prostitutes worked or lived. The study showed that the general population had a mortality rate of 1.9 per every 100,000 people, but the mortality for prostitutes was 391 per 100,000 people and active prostitutes have a mortality rate of 459 per 100,000 people.
To put into perspective, the story that these statistics tell is important. Not only is prostitution a deadly profession, it is a trap. Its very beginnings are woven by society, and not just one society, but by the global society. It begins with people who make laws. It is contributed to by people who abuse their children. It continues because of lack of mental health treatment. It has a basis in the culture and the value that a society places on people. It is spurred on by issues of racism, poverty, economics, religion and many other social problems such as social stigmatism. It is not an isolated problem. Prostitution is clearly a global issue. To expect that laws that ban prostitution are enough to prevent prostitution from existing is irresponsible. If laws worked to prevent prostitution, then the only place that prostitutes would exist in the United States would be in the state of Nevada. Nevada is the only state that allows the legal practice of prostitution.
Statistics on Prostitution in America.
A recent study of eight major US cities indicated that the financial contribution from the Underground Commercial Sex Economy for 2007 ranged from $39.9 Million dollars to $290 million dollars. The study also uncovered a growing interest in child pornography in the United States. Child pornography and child prostitution statistics show that sexual acts with children are by no means restricted to just the United States. It too is a global portion of prostitution around the worlds. Earlier, the age ranges for prostitutes listed out as 13-25 years of age. The sad truth about child prostitution is that it even involves sexual acts with babies and toddlers. The driving force behind the increase in child pornography and child prostitution is the Internet. The eight cities in the study were Denver, CO, Washing DC, San Diego CA, Miami FL, Seattle WA, Dallas TX, Kansas City MO, Atlanta GA. Notice that none of those cities is in Nevada.
Prostitution Is Not Just an Industry that Involves Women.
A look at male prostitution statistics shows that of the 40-42 million prostitutes in the world, 8-8.42 million are thought to be men. The face of male prostitution in developed countries is quite different than that of women prostitutes. In a study by Humanity In Action it was discovered that many male prostitutes enter the paid-sex-industry voluntarily. A second fact discovered was that many male prostitutes do not need the money. Those facts are not true of all male prostitutes. In a report published by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, 50% of the 100,000 children trafficked for sex are boys. Even sadder, when it comes to trafficked children, boys are often off the radar. The bias of society and law enforcement tends to tilt towards women and girls over men and boys. Part of that has to do with the view of homosexuals world-wide. Those children, boys and girls, are not entering the paid-sex-industry voluntarily.
What Changes when the Law Allows Prostitution?
Legalizing prostitution statistics show that even in the places where prostitution is legal, illegal prostitution still exists and is often more lucrative than legal paid-sex businesses. In Nevada, clients pay upwards of 66% more for services performed by illegal prostitution than they do in legal brothels. In fact, only 19 legal brothels exist in Nevada; though, in major cities outside of Nevada, the illegal paid-sex-industry brings in as much as $290 Million dollars annually.
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