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Factors Determining Entry Into The Prostitution Lifestyle

1137 words - 5 pages

It is called the oldest profession in the world, and employs approximately one to two million people in the United States alone. Prostitution is defined as the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment. This payment could be money, drugs, and in some cases mercy. The lifestyle of a prostitute can be extremely dangerous and damaging, consisting of being raped, robbed, beaten, threatened, materialized, pimped, and the list goes on. Add to the situation a sexually transmitted disease, drug addiction, and unplanned pregnancy for a mixture of devastation and total depravity. Countless men, women, and children are forced into prostitution through sex slavery, but others choose this life on their own. What would cause someone to pursue this kind of lifestyle? Women deliberately enter the streets of prostitution due to childhood sexual abuse, out of economic necessity, and in order to sustain a previous drug addiction.
Negative childhood experiences can leave a damaging, lasting impact on a person with long term repercussions. According to the psychoanalytic perspective on abnormality from Feldman (2013), childhood conflicts that are unresolved in the unconsciousness result in abnormal behavior in adulthood. Experiencing sexual abuse as a child certainly does not always cause an adult to participate in the prostitution lifestyle, but has been identified as a mutual link amongst street workers. According to Murphy (2010), childhood sexual abuse was a common factor found in the women engaged in prostitution who participated in his study. It seems as though women who experienced this kind of sexual abuse as an adolescent may associate sexual relations with a part of their identity. One theory from Wilson and Widom (2009), suggests that childhood sexual abuse is likely to lead to the victim running away from home, and running away from home with no place to go can easily lead to the victim engaging in prostitution. On the other hand, Wilson and Widom (2009), also found that in the same scenario men are not affected the same way and the same circumstances do not apply. In a separate study done by Wilson and Widom (2010), researchers found that, “Individuals with documented cases of child abuse and neglect were over twice as likely as controls to have engaged in prostitution”. More specifically, sexual initiation before age 15 was the single strongest predictor of entry into prostitution. Whatever the case may be, there is a distinguished link between female victims of childhood sexual abuse choosing to enter into prostitution.
Another reason an individual may choose to partake in the lifestyle of prostitution is out of dire economic necessity. According to the study done by Murphy (2010), out of the 12 women in the group, 11 were divorced, single, or widowed, one was married, and none of them were employed. All but one had children, and one was pregnant. 4 of the women lived in rental housing, and the rest were living...

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