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Focusing on the Clients of Street Prostitutes: A Creative Approach to Reducing Violence Against Women -- Summary Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1999
9 pages
This study attempts to profile the clients of street prostitutes and looks briefly at several programs to reduce violence against women.
The 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey found that only about 16 percent of American men had ever visited a prostitute and only about .6 percent visited prostitutes each year. Arrested clients of prostitutes in San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Portland (Oregon) were significantly more likely than men who responded to the survey to have attended at least some college, contradicting the widely held view that the clients of street prostitutes come primarily from working class backgrounds. Also in comparison to the national sample, arrested clients: (1) were much less likely to be currently married; (2) were more likely to have never been married; (3) were more likely to have had two or more sexual partners over the preceding year; (4) had somewhat less frequent sexual relations over the preceding year; and (5) were twice as likely to have watched pornographic movies in the preceding year. The average age of first prostitution encounter among the arrested men was 24 with a median of 21, though ages at first encounter ranged from 9 to 62. Overall, men who sought prostitutes were not dramatically different from men in general and they did not exhibit attitudes that would support violence against women. This may mean that much of the violence experienced by prostitutes at the hands of clients is committed by a small minority of clients.

Date Published: October 1, 1999