Due to the underground nature of the illegal commercial sex industry, summing up the exact statistics on prostitution in the United States is difficult. Nevertheless, there are many accurate generalizations that could be concluded based on approximate statistical information regarding the topic of prostitution.
It is extremely clear that persons engaged in prostitution are not happy with their unfortunate choice of profession. Countless studies report that over 80% of prostitutes say they wish to get out of prostitution. This information does not explain why women do not get out of prostitution. There is plenty of statistically based studies on prostitutes reporting reasons why they do not quit their jobs and do something legitimate.
About 40% of prostitutes are former child prostitutes who were illegally forced into the profession through human trafficking or once were teenage runaways. Many of the runaways fled because their homes were abusive, poor, or did not approve of them. There is a nationwide trend of increased frequency of child prostitution as a result of runaways. Many men feel that they are safer from AIDS if they have sex with younger prostitutes, increasing the market for younger prostitutes. 60% percent of children reported missing as a result of running away become prostitutes for some period of time to survive.
Many of these children are youths who fled their homes because of a parent or guardians disapproval. This accounts for the origins of many of the male prostitutes that walk the streets. Males prostitutes account for roughly 20% of the national prostitute population. The average age at which a male prostitute begins their illegal work is 14 years old. Male prostitutes usually do not have pimps as they usually work independently. This allows them to leave prostitution more easily at an average age of 25 years.
Female prostitution statistics tell a completely different story. The average female prostitute enters her job when she is only 16 or 17 years of age. Female prostitutes leave prostitution less frequently than their male counterparts. This is mainly because a smaller proportion of them work for pimps. They typically have shorter lives because they are subject to the abuse from both clients and pimps. 58% of American prostitutes reported violent assault at the hands of clients.
With a higher instance of physical violence perpetrated against them, female prostitutes are more likely to get murdered. In a period of five years in Newark, New Jersey, 14 homicide victims were known prostitutes. That is an incredibly high figure in a city of 280,000 residents with an average annual murder rate of 7 homicides per 100,000 persons.
Roughly 26% of New York City prostitutes were homeless and addicted to illicit drugs. They had to resort to prostitution to serve their addiction to hard drugs like crack, cocaine, and heroin. 90% of New York City prostitutes had to give away at least one child to child protective services.
This is a common occurrence across the country and contributes to the incidence of children without parents. According to the United Nations, there are approximately 311,600 orphans in the United States alone. There are no statistics that indicate the proportion of orphans who are born of prostitutes; however, it is clear that prostitutes would contribute to that figure.
Prostitutes have an increased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. A study in Minneapolis, Minnesota revealed that only 15% of prostitutes who had prostituted for at least six months had an STD. This figure does not include HIV/AIDS. Gynecological examinations of the prostitutes in this study revealed an alarming incidence of positive pap tests.
These women are at greater risk of cervical cancer and could spread the human papilloma virus among the population of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, either through direct transmission or indirect transmission.