What do you know about prostitution in America?


A few months ago I came across an article online claiming to reveal nine secrets about the “mysterious” world of prostitution in the United States. I’ve heard that blog and websites posts based on numbered lists tend to draw in the most views. After being drawn in so many times I’m starting to believe it. I may have to get in on the action and post a few of my own lists soon.

The article in question listed nine things that are supposedly unknown about prostitution in America. Even though I’ve been around enough stupid pub chat to know how low discourse can fall I find it hard to believe that much of this remains a mystery. Perhaps that’s because I’m so interested in the commercial sex scene in the US and around the world but a lot of what’s written seems to be common sense to me. Are most people really unaware of all of this?

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That’s what the study the article is based on concluded. I don’t have the time or resources to verify that even on the smallest level. I could ask my readers but I’d imagine they are generally better versed than the average citizen since they’ve found themselves on this website.

The first fact listed is that the sex industry generates a lot of money in the United States. Who does this surprise? Even prostitution’s enemies would concede that fact. Are there really people out there who think that the sale of sex is a bad earner? Who are they?

The next fact talks about pimps and their take home earnings. It is what it is I guess but I have to wonder what percent of the industry actually has the involvement of pimps and what being a pimp entails according to this study. Are they trying to prove that management makes more than the sex workers themselves? In what industry does management not make more than the employees? I don’t have any hard data to back it up but I’d guess that prostitution is also home to more independent self-employed workers than almost any other industry. Why no mention of that? Is it because it doesn’t help the war against the sale of sex?

The third item is perhaps the one I question most. According to the study many sex workers are educated and entered the industry because of a lack of other opportunities to make as much money elsewhere. Who could this possibly be a surprise to? Are there masses of people out there who think most women enter sex work because they lack intelligence? This is simply strange.

Further down the list the article says Backpage is the most common website for prostitution with Craigslist following just behind. While I don’t necessarily doubt these findings the other results which include MySpace (a site that fell out of mainstream use years ago) and LiveJasmin definitely makes me wonder.

The final item unleashes the biggest secret of all: normal people and businesses deal with money generated by the sex industry. I hope that didn’t shock you into having a heart attack or stroke but apparently it is a fact. That’s right my friends. Banks, hotels, landlords and even restaurants have taken money from people who offer sexual services in exchange for compensation. Can you believe it?!?

I have some more problems with the report. A lot of things are misconstrued or left out. I guess that can be expected considering the source but some errors and omissions are just outrageous. One stand out example is the complete lack of data on major cities like New York and Chicago.

Some may argue that such data would be out of the scope of the study. I would respond that any study that doesn’t at least take New York City into account probably isn’t worth a whole lot.

It’s easy then for me to quickly look over this report and dismiss it. The thing that continues to linger in my mind is whether or not the “facts” that actually are facts really are unknown by the majority of people in the United States of America. If so I wonder what effect that has on the criminalization of sex work (which I’d obviously like to see overturned).

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  1. Tom August 11, 2014
    • rockit August 11, 2014

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