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NCJ Number: 206308 Find in a Library
Title: Youth Involvement in Prostitution: A Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography
Author(s): Steven Bittle
Date Published: April 2002
Page Count: 110
Sponsoring Agency: Canada Dept of Justice
Ottawa , ON K1A 0H8, Canada
Publication Number: rr2001-13e
Sale Source: Canada Dept of Justice
Research and Statistics Division
284 Wellington Street
Ottawa , ON K1A 0H8,
Document: PDF
Type: Literature Review
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This report provides a comprehensive literature review on youth involved with prostitution, with an emphasis on the legal and extra-legal responses to the youth sex trade and the main findings of social scientific research.
Abstract: In the 1980’s, a growing concern about youth involvement in prostitution inspired an unprecedented explosion in research and program initiatives designed to understand and address this social problem. Following the introduction in chapter 1, which presents the purpose of the report and describes definitional issues, chapter 2 reviews the legislative history of prostitution from the mid-1800’s to the present. This review reveals that female prostitutes have been subjected to discriminatory legislation and enforcement of the law, regardless of their age. Men involved with purchasing the services of prostitutes, on the other hand, have enjoyed relative immunity. Despite this history, there is evidence of policy changes pertaining to youth prostitution. Much of the recent government-sponsored initiatives have adopted the view that youth involved with prostitution are victims of sexual exploitation, rather than offenders. Many jurisdictions in Canada are attempting to amend child welfare legislation to define youth prostitution as child sexual abuse. Despite this philosophical and programmatic shift, there remains the perception that young prostitutes are still being punished, yet under the guise of protection. Critics have charged that policies to “protect” young prostitutes may be interpreted by youth involved in the sex trade as another form of control. Chapter 3 reviews the main findings and debates of the social science literature. The main debate involves the association between childhood physical and sexual abuse and subsequent involvement in the sex trade industry. Research findings have revealed that many young prostitutes report histories of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Young males involved in prostitution report running away to escape discrimination based on their sexual orientation. Many young prostitutes were attracted to the trade as an opportunity to make money following their decision to leave home. The situational poverty of street-involved youth served to keep them in the sex trade as a means of survival. This review has revealed a lack of youth-centered research and policy; the review indicated a disjuncture between the reality of life on the streets for young prostitutes and the programmatic and policy responses recently adopted. Efforts to effectively combat the problem of youth prostitution will take further research to increase society’s understanding of this phenomenon. References, appendix
Main Term(s): Juvenile prostitution; Literature reviews
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Canada; Juvenile offenders; Legislation
Note: Downloaded July 28, 2004.
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