Juvenile Justice Bulletin Banner 2004

J. Robert Flores, Administrator

June 2004

Prostitution of Juveniles: Patterns From NIBRS

Crimes against Children logoDavid Finkelhor and Richard Ormrod



Prostitution Incidents Known to Police

Prostitution Incidents With Juvenile Offenders

Variation in the Prostitution of Juveniles

Juvenile Victims in Prostitution Incidents




NCJ 203946

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office for Victims of Crime.

This Bulletin was prepared under grant number 98–JN–FX–0012 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of OJJDP or the U.S. Department of Justice.


A Message From OJJDP

The human degradation inherent in prostitution is always unacceptable but the victimization of children that takes place in juvenile prostitution is particularly disturbing. This Bulletin broadens our understanding of the problem by examining the prostitution of juveniles as it is known to law enforcement. Analyzing data from the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System, the authors provide a profile of juvenile prostitution, noting its distinctions from its adult counterpart.

Compared with adult prostitution, the prostitution of juveniles is more likely to occur in large cities and less likely to result in arrest. Juveniles involved in prostitution are more likely to work in groups than are adult prostitutes. There are also gender differences among juvenile prostitutes, with boys tending to be older than girls and more likely to operate outdoors. Understanding such differences can help us to develop more effective strategies to end the prostitution of juveniles.

The social and legal status of juveniles involved in prostitution is somewhat ambiguous. On the one hand, they are offenders involved in illegal and delinquent behavior. On the other, they are children who are being victimized by unscrupulous adults. Clearly, these youth are being harmed emotionally and are in considerable physical danger. Accordingly, from both a child protective and law enforcement strategy, our goal should be the same—the eradication of the sexual exploitation of youth.



This Bulletin was prepared by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Director, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, and Richard Ormrod, Ph.D., Research Professor, Crimes against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire.

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