Teen prostitution in U.S.A

Posted: August 12th, 2013


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Teen Prostitution in the USA

            1. Teen prostitution is a part of child prostitution because a teenager has not attained the age of consent; therefore, he/she is considered a minor by the law. Child prostitution refers to the sexual exploitation of a child for financial gain. In most cases, the children in question engage in sex in order to raise money for their upkeep. Teen prostitution in the USA is rapidly gaining prevalence in the USA. The teenagers who take part in this activity are mostly between the ages of thirteen and nineteen. A majority of these children have run away from home. Cases of orphans who have left the foster care system are escalating rapidly. After they leave home, teenagers have to fend for themselves in order to obtain the basic needs. Education is not relevant to them, and most of them drop out of school in order to engage in this trade.

The number of teen prostitutes has increased significantly in the past ten years. The number of these children has almost doubled since 1995. In the USA, harsh laws against teen prostitution have been set up but they have not had a lasting impact on the vice. This is because the teenagers in question have become cleverer, and now they do not work on the streets. Alternatively, they make visits to the customers’ homes or use facilities like hotels and motels. This makes it difficult to arrest them due to the provision of the right of privacy. About 95 % of the teenagers who take part in prostitution are females while only 5 % of the remaining number is male. This paper will address teen prostitution in its entirety, namely the causes of the vice, the laws against it, and even how the citizens view it.


2. The issue of teen prostitution is particularly common in the United States. Records show that the number of prostitutes between the ages of 13-19 is about 300, 000 (Flowers, 2001). The number stated was obtained from the number of teenagers arrested. It is well known that not all the teenagers who participate in the vice are arrested. It is evident from this information that the actual number of teen prostitutes is deemed much larger than this. However, some of these children may change their lifestyles and stop participating in prostitution. The use of newer sophisticated methods of conducting the trade has contributed to the decline in the number of arrests made by the police officers. New methods that have come up use mainly the Internet. Formation of websites that advertise pictures of teenagers is the most common method of operation that these teenagers use. For this reason, it is difficult for the authorities to track their activities; thus they cannot be arrested. Organizations have been set up to try to convert these children or facilitate their return to their homes.

However, this is not particularly easy since these teenagers do not want to return to their homes. Poverty is the main cause of their refusal. Such teens may have lived in hardship but with the help of prostitution, they are able to lead comfortable lives. Statistics also report that out of the number of teenagers who run away from home, two thirds of them engage in prostitution in order to make money. For example, in the United States, the issue of prostitution is paramount in almost all the states of the country. Prominence of this problem has led to the formation of organizations which are formed in order to dissuade such teens from the vice of prostitution. Conferences have also been held to try to come up with several solutions to the issue of teen prostitution. In addition to this, the government has also implemented some laws in a bid to reduce prostitution in the country. However, even after the government has taken all these actions, the issue of prostitution is still a particularly crucial problem in the United States of America (Spangenberg, 2001).

3. Teen prostitution has several disadvantages which may affect the individual in question adversely. In addition to this, the consequences may also affect the individual’s family and society as well. The disadvantages in question will influence the person’s health and emotional well-being. In terms of the health of the teenager, engaging in coitus with several partners will have a grave consequence on his or her health. The first health risk associated with prostitution is the contraction of the dangerous virus HIV/AIDS that has no cure yet. The chances of infection are dramatically increased due to the number of partners the person in question has. AIDS is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse but it may also be transmitted through other ways. Such ways include sharing of syringes with the infected person. However, AIDS is often spread through sex in 85% of the cases.

AIDS is a dangerous autoimmune disease whose cure has not been discovered yet. In order to avoid contraction of HIV/AIDS, the use of protection like condoms during intercourse is recommended. This will significantly reduce the possibility of infection for the parties involved. Prostitutes are at a higher risk when it comes to the contraction of AIDS. This is because of the number of partners they have and the fact that they do not always use protection during intercourse. The large number of people that teenagers sleep with increases their chances of infection by about 60% while compared to ordinary couples. A large proportion of their partners do not use protection during intercourse. It is for this reason that it easier for the prostitute to contract the virus from the other partner. The teenager may want to use protection but the customer may oppose this, and in order to get the money he or she may accept the conditions set by the customer.

Apart from AIDS, there is also the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). Gonorrhea and syphilis are the most commonly contracted diseases. These diseases affect the immunity of the teenager. In cases when the infection is discovered immediately, treatment may be sought. In other cases, the teenagers do not obtain treatment in time, and they may end up with severe repercussions on their health. The health of the teenager is not the only thing that is affected. Emotionally, the teenager is also scarred due to their engagement in prostitution. This may be explained by the fact that they consider themselves forced into the situation, for example, due to poverty. This influences their emotional growth and in most cases results in depression and low self esteem. Depression at such a young age is not recommended, and it may get worse since they will not seek help. The result of this is destructive resulting in suicidal behaviors (Friedman, 2005).

In addition to this, the individual may seek solace in drugs like heroin and cocaine. The use of these drugs adds another myriad of effects to the ones the individual already has. Teen prostitutes are the most common drug users as proven by several research projects. Moreover, the trade has a lot of insecurity associated with it. The customers may assault the teenage prostitutes. In some instances, the injuries that they receive are extensive. This makes it insecure for them to work in this field since they are minors, below the age of eighteen. Prostitution also affects the immediate surrounding of the teenager. For instance, the family of the person is shamed by the actions of their child. In some situations, they are even discriminated by their neighbors. This results in the emotional discomfort of the family. Internally, the family may also lose its cohesion that their unity will falter.

The most common result of this is the divorce of the parents which causes a lot of pain to the children in the family. In the rare cases where there is no divorce, there are several arguments that may cause untold misery in the family for both the parents and the siblings in the family. The other members of the community stigmatize the family of the teenage prostitute. Stigmatization differs from discrimination since the members of the community do not display their contempt openly. Alternatively, they revert to talking behind their backs and this affects the emotional well-being of the family. The siblings of the teenager who is a prostitute may be tempted to join the same trade. This happens in poor families, and the siblings may be inspired by the amount of money the teen prostitute earns. This will bring even more anguish to the parents of the teenagers.

Teen prostitution has an effect on the community as well. As noted earlier, most of the teenagers are school dropouts. With an increase in the number of prostitutes, there is a consequent decrease in the number of students in the vicinity. Decrease in the number of students results in a lower level of illiteracy in the area. Since the level of literacy directly affects the development of the neighborhood, the development will be stalled. Literacy affects development since the educated individuals determine the productivity of the areas in question. Increased productivity will ensure that the region will enjoy high levels of development. Conversely, if there are few literate people with the skill required to develop the area, the economic growth of the place will decrease rather than increase as it should.  In addition to this, the community will get a bad name since most people will refer to them based on the number of teenage prostitutes that originate from the locale (Patrice & Black, 2008).

4. The issue of teen prostitution is a common occurrence not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. In Mexico, the issue of child and teen prostitution is an unusual occurrence in the country. This is because most children above the age of twelve take part in prostitution. A majority of these children and teenagers are introduced into prostitution by their parents or members of their extended family. In this country, there are no laws against child prostitution. Pedophilic activities are not considered criminal; conversely, they are considered the norm in the country of Mexico. Mexico City is particularly known for prostitution tourism, involving children and teenagers. This city is a common destination for pedophiles from Europe and the United States. Several countries sought the inception of a global law that would punish such tourists who visited the city only for the reason of participating in teen prostitution.

This law was not passed since it infringed on the sovereignty of the country in question. An approximate number of five thousand children are involved in sex-tourism, prostitution, and pornography. The rates of kidnapping in the country are also high. The perpetrators of these crimes participate in human trafficking. They send the children to other countries where they work in brothels as prostitutes. In these places, they are underpaid and mistreated by both their bosses and the customers that they serve. For older teenagers, they are lured by the promise of job opportunities in foreign countries. After their arrival in their destination, they are sold off and they work in brothels or as sex slaves in the foreign countries. In Mexico City, teen prostitutes are common, and they even conduct their trade while they are still in their school uniforms on the streets. The dress code of the students in Mexico is also rather provocative which makes them attract customer more easily.

The laws of Mexico dictate that prostitution is legal in the country, except in nightclubs and brothels. It is for this reason that they have resorted to the streets for their trade. Most teenagers engage in prostitution in order to obtain money. This is because a large number of the citizens live in absolute poverty. In the case of child prostitution, it takes place in two main ways. Firstly, the person seeking the favor talks to the mother of the child providing her with several gifts and money. After this, he may state his need, and the mother of the child will pin everything and let him know. This is the most common practice in the country, and several people use it in order to participate in teen prostitution. Another method used to obtain sexual favors in Mexico City is the insertion of the little finger of the person in the mouth while facing the grandmother of the child. After it is done, the grandparent signals the person either in agreement or in disagreement. If it is agreed, the person will be notified of the details of the plan. The feelings of the teenager and child are not considered in this case, and refusal to participate in the act is considered a taboo and a shame to the child’s family.

In other cases, several females are found lined up at the entrance to hotels trying to obtain tourists as customers. This does not take place at night only; on the contrary, it takes place during the daytime as well. Politicians in Mexico have completely ignored this fact citing it as a part of their history and culture. They ignore the significant effects the actions have on the children and teenagers. In some cases, child prostitution is considered religious and is exalted. For example, in cults like the Cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe, some of their religious practices include pedophilia. These acts are accepted since there are laws of the country that protect all religious organizations. The Catholic Church has tried its best to fight these laws but they have not been successful. However, they have established societies that help teenagers who want to stop participating in prostitution. This has raised a lot of controversy, especially among the cults in question (Katsulis, 2008).

Another country that has surprisingly high rates of teenage prostitution is Ukraine. Statistics decree that about 30-40% of the commercial sex workers in the country are minors. The age bracket of the minors involved in prostitution is 11-19 years (Malarek, 2011). Prostitution and human trafficking are commonly referred to as ‘Natasha Trade’ by the locals in Ukraine. The country is well known for human trafficking in Europe. Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine, is notorious when it comes to Natasha trade. A number of prostitutes migrate from the rural areas to Kiev hoping to get jobs and earn more money. However, since most are uneducated, they cannot get good jobs and as a result of desperation, they turn to prostitution. Lawyers and advocates have battled the trend in Kiev but they have not been very successful yet.

Their failure may be attributed to the fact that there is a high demand for prostitutes in the city. This makes it possible for more teenagers to participate in the vice. Child and teenage prostitution in Ukraine is conducted using rings. Some local women in Kiev own most of the rings. In some cases, these teenagers are sold to other ring operators all over Europe. Even with the establishment of several laws against the trade and the arrests of some of the operators, child prostitution is still widespread. Another reason why child prostitution is common is that several European citizens visit Ukraine in order to participate in the vice. If they were stopped, the demand for prostitutes would decrease making the issue a matter of the past. However, the government is doing what it can with relation to the matter in order to get rid of it in the country.

5. Over the years, the government has tried to stop the spread of teen prostitution in the United States of America. However, they have not been particularly successful since the vice has  increased instead of decreasing as they had expected it to.  Therefore, in order to curb the spread of teen prostitution in the country, it is important to create new laws that address the matter in its entirety. For the success of these new laws, the people concerned with their formulation should get to the root of the trend. They should understand what causes the teenagers to resort to prostitution in the first place. By understanding the reasons, they can formulate effective laws that will limit the growth of the trend as well as stop the existing trade. Most teenagers opt to participate in prostitution since they run away from home. They may leave home because of factors like poverty.

For the government to stop the trend, they can try to improve their standards of living. As a result, teenagers will not need to leave home in search for money and better lives. The government can accomplish this by provision of more job opportunities to people or by giving them grants if they cannot sustain themselves fully. This will be successful since the teenagers will not need to look for more money, and in turn they will concentrate on their studies and will contribute to the development of the economy of the country in the end. Most teenagers who participate in prostitution come from foster families. They may leave home since the foster family that they have been placed with mistreats them. Running away offers an option of freedom to such teenagers. Improvement of the foster system in the United States will ensure that the number of teenagers who run away will be reduced significantly.

Ensuring that all the foster families are responsible and that they treat the children they are given well is an example of an amendment that can be made in the foster system. To facilitate that the treatment is good at all times, the child protection services may have impromptu visits to the families just to make sure. In the cases of planned visits, the family may pretend to treat the child well though they maltreat him or her as a rule. By implementing this, the children in the foster care system will be treated well and will not run away from home. Since prostitution has become more sophisticated, the government should target its efforts on the Internet in order to stop the trade from progressing. Prostitution rings often have websites on the Internet where they post pictures of the girls and communicate with the customers. This makes it difficult to arrest them since they do not have any proof of the operation that takes place online (Kissil & Davey, 2010).

However, the government can use computer experts to identify and crack down on such rings on the Internet. In such a way, they will be able to stop teenage prostitution in the country. Most people may consider this act as an invasion of privacy; however, since the trade is illegal, the government may allow it. In the case of parents who are aware that their children participate in prostitution and do not do anything about it should be arrested and charged for this. Other parents who do the same will stop doing it, and this will ensure that the number of teenagers participating in the trade will be reduced significantly. Consequently, teenage prostitution will be controlled in the United States of America. In most cases, during the crackdown dome on brothels and areas where the trade occurs, only the prostitutes are arrested, and the customers are rarely apprehended.

Formulation of a law that ensures that the customers are detained as well will ensure that the number of customers will decrease significantly. A decrease in the number of customers will cause a subsequent reduction in demand for the prostitutes, which will make them lose business and turn to other ways of making money. Implementation of such a law would ensure that the teenage prostitutes stop their trade and that the customers they have will not seek their services any more since they will not want to be arrested due to the new law that was put in place.

Getting hold of such individuals will ensure that prostitution is crippled. However, the identities of such individuals are mostly hidden, and the teenagers do not disclose their names. In order to get hold of them, the police department may use undercover operations to find out how the rings operate. The information that they obtain from this operation will enable them to close the business down and arrest the people involved in it. The arrest of the proprietors of the prostitution rings makes it difficult for the teenage prostitutes to operate; thus they will leave the trade. This will be efficient since it will permanently impede the rings that operate in the United States.

6. Several organizations have been established all over the country trying to assist the teenage prostitutes to leave the trade and join something more helpful and less dangerous. One example is the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

U.S. Department of Justice

1001 G St. NW, Suite 310 Washington, DC



This organization is under the department of Justice, specifically under the department of child protection. It uses correspondence obtained from individuals in order to help the children who take part in prostitution. It also conducts some investigations with the police department in order to catch the culprits who facilitate teenage prostitution. I think that this organization is helpful in stopping teenage prostitution because it has rescued several teenagers and enabled them to obtain good education. For this reason, it is an effective tool in the fight against teenage prostitution in the United States of America.

Love 146 is another organization that is well known for their work against child prostitution not only in America but also in other countries all over the world. The USA office has the following address:

Love 146. P.O. Box 8266

New Haven, CT 06530

203 772 4420 or 203 745 0953

Info@love 146.org

The organization has several programs that enable them to spread their message in many countries. The programs include ‘Round Home’ which is a home where rescued children are placed and provided with all their needs. ‘Time 4 Girls’ is another program that trains adults who interact with the teenage prostitutes. The organization also has several Task Forces that work to inform citizens in the areas in question of the influences that prostitution has on the children involved in it. I think that this organization has done outstanding job rescuing children and teenagers from prostitution. The fact that it is also a non-profit organization proves that is has the well-being of the children at heart. I think all citizens in the United States should do their best in order to improve this organization.

7. Teenage prostitution is a big challenge in several countries worldwide. Teenage and child prostitution especially in the United States ahs increased dramatically over the past decade. Government effort to stop the vice has been largely unsuccessful since their methods of operation have changed and become more sophisticated. For this reason, global organizations like the United Nations should put global laws in place to control it, especially in countries like Mexico where it is legal. In the countries where it is illegal, they should improve their methods in order to ensure that the operators are arrested. They may use undercover operations for instance to apprehend the prostitutes and the people who operate the rings through the internet. Prostitution at such an early age has dire consequences on the teenager that affect him or her until adulthood. Thus, everyone should take part in this fight, whether directly or indirectly, to ensure that children and fellow teenagers are rescued from this kind of life because this kind of lifestyle exposes them to diseases and other dangers. Research on teenage prostitution should be conducted more intensively to ensure that all the information to stop it completely is obtained. If all these measures are taken, the vice will undoubtedly be stopped.



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