“I had been sleeping on a park bench for three nights…. The fourth night…I met a man named Troy, who was really good to me at first…. Little did I know that my problems were about to begin” (Flowers 108). Prostitution can be a dangerous and scarce lifestyle for many teenage girls, but exists within the United States. These girls grow up very quickly and their innocence may be shattered through this profession, but many lack the knowledge of the true meaning behind prostitution. Teenage girls who prostitute in America are living very dangerous lifestyles through this profession and face detrimental experiences in their young lives. A Prostitute is one who involves herself in sexual activity for pay (Webster 518). There are many aspects to prostitution including the prostitutes themselves, the pimps, and the johns. The pimps are generally men who get customers for their prostitutes as a means of making money for themselves ( Flowers 121). The Johns are the people who pay a prostitute for sexual activity. These men are the prostitute’s customers, and the men who provide the money for the pimps and prostitutes. (Flowers 125). The exact number of teenage prostitutes is never clear, however, it is estimated that there are more than 300,000 teenagers in the United States, who are exposed to prostitution (Vincent). For teenage girls in America the average age to begin prostituting is by the age of fourteen years old. It is estimated that at least one fifth of all the prostitutes on the streets are teenage girls. As many as ninety percent of these girls were charmed and pressured into selling sexual favors by a pimp. Another twenty percent of these girls were runaways, becoming prostitutes through their association with other street children and teenage prostitutes. In most cases, these young girls are recruiting for their pimps (Flowers, 108-109) There are many teenage girls in prostitution, but one of the most frequently asked questions is: What kinds of girls are subjected to prostitution? The kinds of girls that are prostituting are some who have broken homes, an abusive history, a promiscuous mother, bad relationships with one or both parents, and a history of running away, which is the biggest aspect leading a girl into the life of prostitution (Vincent). Commonly one might assume that a young prostitute would come from a lower class environment. However, there has been much research that has shown a mix of results with the relationship between teenage prostitution and class. Studies, which involve higher samples, have found that many of these adolescent female prostitutes come from middle to upper class families. In one of recent samples of teenage prostitutes, they found that seventy percent of these girls were from average to above average income levels. Most of these girls have come from families characterized by divorce, separation, and pure dysfunction (Flowers 111). Contrary to these results, teenage prostitution can come from many different types of families and income status’. “Some of these girls come from loving homes. Others have fled sexual abuse at home or fallen into drug addiction” (Pulkinnen). The girls who prostitute are usually ones that run away from home, because of a bad home life. Teenage girls usually run away from home due to an unstable family situation including: physical or sexual abuse, absence of one or both of the parents, poverty, or drug abuse. Some runaways leave because of school problems, sexual identity issues, peer pressure, boredom, or even mental illnesses. Many runaway teenagers are actually thrown out of their home or abandoned by their parent or guardians. Lastly, there is the group of runaways that leave home for the thrill, adventure, sexual experiences, or lured by others through the Internet (Flowers 57). One of the biggest problems with prostitution is the male pimp involved. Pimps play a crucial role in the dynamics of teenage prostitution. Most of...
Cited: Flowers, Barri. Runaway Kids and Teenage Prostitution. Connecticut: Praeger. 2001.
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