History of Prostitution A prostitute is someone, most often a woman, who exchanges sex for resources. Sometimes called “the world’s oldest profession” Took many forms in ancient times from camp- follower, temple worker, mistress, slave, concubine
Research on Prostitution Timothy Guilfoil’s “City of Eros” – book about NYC in the early 1900s mentions that there was a brothel on virtually every block! Why? New York City, and many industrial centers were places full of men with spending money.
Criminalization of U.S. Prostitution Prostitution was tolerated though criminalized in cities throughout U.S. history (and continues to be). A 1910 Department of Justice report stated that in 310 U.S. cities, there were 200,000 working prostitutes – and given the population at the time, that would mean 1 out of every 50 women in their 20s was working as a prostitute.
Why would women become prostitutes? Lack of money Drug addiction (opium in the old days) Sold into brothel by family Lost virginity and so no longer “marriable” Lack of other viable career options (teacher, nurse, maid/servant, nannies)
Wage Comparison In a Chicago study (where there were reportedly 1000 brothels in the early 1900s), here is how wages compared for women who didn’t choose traditional female careers: $6/per week for factory work $25-$70 per week for working as a prostitute In the Butterfly Club in Chicago: $250 to enter; $370 for champagne; $1250 for sex
A Pyramid in Prostitution Mistress Escort/Call Girl Brothel Prostitutes Streetwalkers Sex Slaves
SuperFreakonomics Study Sudhir Venkatesh – the same guy from the drug gang study decided to spend two years studying prostitution in Chicago! The work of 160 street prostitutes was studied in three poor and working-class neighborhoods in Chicago over a two year period. Venkatesh used former prostitutes to gather data after each transaction!
Results of the study The 160 prostitutes participated in sex transactions. The average prostitute in the study worked 15 hours a week and made $350. This works out to $18,200 per year 83% of the prostitutes were drug addicts The average prostitute had 12 acts of violence committed against them by customers. 3 of the 160 died over the two year study due to violence from customers.
The average prostitute had 300 unprotected sex acts per year. Pimps in the study made an average of $50,000 per year. The average prostitute participated in 450 sex transactions before getting arrested. 1 in 10 arrests resulted in prison time. 3% of all sex transactions were given as bribes for police officers
Impact of Pimps on Wages Weekly $Avg. Transactions per week Solo$3257.8 W/Pimp$4106.2 Pimps were found to be worth the extra fee due to their ability to bring higher-paying customers to the neighborhood and their ability to protect prostitutes from gangs (violence) and police (arrest).
In a report by the Chicago Police Dept. 4,400 street prostitutes in Chicago who participated in 1.6 million sex transactions with 175,000 different men. A man’s chances of being arrested for being a customer is 1 for every 1200 visits Since the 1950s, the income payoff for prostitution has gone down dramatically – why?
Comparing Demand Factors Demand Factors in the 1950s Strict social morality discouraged pre-marital sex – Only 33% of men participated Abortion was illegal 20% of first sexual encounters were with prostitutes Sexual adventurousness for women was discouraged within marriage. Demand Factors Today Moral permissiveness Abortion legal Birth Control pills available Feminism as allowed for greater sexual adventurousness.
Prostitution as Sex Slavery in the Modern World William Kristof reports for the New York Times http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/01/03/opi nion/1194837193498/the-face-of- slavery.html?scp=1&sq=kristof%20sex%20slavery &st=cse (5 ½ min) http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/01/03/opi nion/1194837193498/the-face-of- slavery.html?scp=1&sq=kristof%20sex%20slavery &st=cse http://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/09/24/opi nion/1194818192946/fighting-sex-trafficking-in- cambodia.html?scp=2&sq=kristof%20sex%20slav ery&st=cse (3 min) http://video.nytimes.com/video/2008/09/24/opi nion/1194818192946/fighting-sex-trafficking-in- cambodia.html?scp=2&sq=kristof%20sex%20slav ery&st=cse
Prostitution Debate Should prostitution be legalized – is it a victimless crime or a moral evil that will destroy society as we know it?