Top 5 Prostitution Facts

 Written by Alexander Tkachuk It's probably not actually the oldest profession–our money is on hunter-gatherer for that– but it might be close. Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 facts where we count down five random facts about a fascinating subject. Since almost all the research we found on the subject looked at the situations of female prostitutes engaged by men, that's what these facts focus on. Special thanks to our users christo or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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 Written by Alexander Tkachuk

Top 5 Prostitution Facts


It’s probably not actually the oldest profession–our money is on hunter-gatherer for that– but it might be close. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 facts where we count down five random facts about a fascinating subject. Today we’ll be looking at facts about prostitution. Since almost all the research we found on the subject looked at the situations of female prostitutes engaged by men, that’s what these facts focus on.

#5: Statistics Are Very Hard to Gather

In places where prostitution is illegal it’s difficult for researchers to get sex workers and Johns to answer questions honestly, or at all. Fear of legal ramifications makes many people in the industry stay underground, so It’s hard to know exactly how many prostitutes are active, how much they earn, and what their daily lives look like. Even expert research is often disputed over the sample size or selection criteria biases–opponents might argue forever, that high-end escorts would never speak with academic researchers or social workers, and so results are skewed by their omission. Here’s a great illustration of the confusion on the subject: one statistic on an otherwise reliable site says that the average U.S. prostitute earns $290,000 per year, but only $49.45 per trick. That equates to 16 paid sex acts per day 365 days a year, which seems ambitious, but highly unlikely...



#4: It's Exceedingly Dangerous


Sex workers often avoid using the legal system, because their businesses operate outside the law. Johns and pimps know this and they often exploit it. Diseases, drug related predation, and straight up abuse make prostitution incredibly dangerous. Exact figures vary wildly, but all studies seem to agree that the mortality rate of sex workers is much higher than average– anywhere from 10 to 50 times higher. A 2004 study of female prostitutes in Colorado and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology stated that “no population of women studied previously has had ... mortality ratio, or percentage of deaths due to murder even approximating those observed in their study.”  The same study reported that they were murdered 52 times more often than the next most dangerous job for women: liquor store employee. Rightly or wrongly this is one of the major arguments against legalization. Some European Trade Unions use these facts to argue that Prostitution should not be legalized or even considered as a job.


#3: Prostitutes Are Hired for More Than Sex

In fact a lot of engagements are devoid of sex. Some research–and yes, we do have to take research numbers with a grain of salt– but some research has found that between 20 and 40 percent of “dates” don’t have any sexual content. Rather, men use this time to talk to the prostitute about life, relationships, the future and other intimate topics. Reportedly, some prostitutes think of themselves as a type of therapist or marriage counselor in those situations, which sounds surprising until you realize that 85% of Johns have some other kind of sexual relationship, and 60% of them are married.


#2: Sweden Has a World-Renowned Model

In Sweden it’s Illegal to buy sex, but not to sell it. Pimping is also illegal. The Swedish government views sex work as a type of institutionalized oppression and a human rights violation. They think sex work is always something that women are coerced into even if the woman says otherwise. This Nordic Model is certainly one of the most progressive models for dealing with sex work. It allows the women and men in the industry to get the medical attention and the social services they need. It also helps them get the resources to leave the industry if they wish. Of course, the system is not perfect and some critics think that it treats consenting women like children. There are conflicting reports, but research seems to indicate that as a result of this policy, there are fewer people purchasing sex, fewer women being illegally trafficked into the country, and fewer active prostitutes on the streets and online. The results have apparently been positive enough for other countries to enact similar laws, including Canada, Iceland, Northern Ireland, and Norway.


#1 Prostitutes Advertise on Social Media

As mentioned before selling sex on the street is an incredibly dangerous act. There is lots of uncertainty involved in being on the street. For years women have been using social media, personal websites, and messaging boards as a way to make these interactions somewhat safer. In 2015 an app called “Ohlala” was launched in Germany which has been described as “Uber for escorts”. It now operates in both Germany and New York City and has been helping to put pimps out of a job and to keep women off the street corners. On the other hand, some experts report that taking prostitution off the streets and onto the internet sends it even more underground, making it more difficult for social workers to offer help, and for police to intervene on or investigate instances of abuse.


So what do you think the best policy for dealing with prostitution is? Prohibition? Outright legalization? Something like Sweden’s model? For more highly disputed top 10s and legally questionable top 5s be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com
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