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Understanding and Applying Research on Prostitution

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 255 Dated: November 2006 Pages: 22-25
Date Published
November 2006
4 pages
Publication Series
This article provides an overview of the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) research portfolio intended to contribute to the development of a strategy that deals with prostitution and its effects.
One recent study that analyzed data on single and serial homicides of prostitutes found that a significant number of single homicides of prostitutes had nonsexual motives. Serial homicides of prostitutes, on the other hand, were almost exclusively sexually motivated. Single and serial murderers as well as their victims had some similar characteristics, namely, violent criminal backgrounds, substance use histories, and lifestyle choices; however, serial murderers differed from single murderers in manifesting sexual aggression, deviant sexual interests, and active sexual fantasies. This research collected data on 123 prostitute homicide victims, the perpetrators, and the crime scenes. Another NIJ-funded study explored the types of sex-related behavioral characteristics of men who solicited prostitutes ("johns"). Data from a survey of 1,291 johns showed that 72 percent had attended college and had a median age of 37. They were likely to be unmarried. Johns who were married and college graduates were more likely to want sex acts different from those experienced with their regular sex partners. Unmarried clients and noncollege graduates tended to feel shy and awkward in meeting women, but felt comfortable with prostitutes. Twenty percent of the johns accepted four or more of eight rape myths presented to them in the survey. Researchers believe this group may be responsible for perpetrating violence against prostitutes. Two other NIJ-funded studies of johns examined the effectiveness of a San Francisco john program in reducing reoffending and the deterrent effect of arrests on street-prostitute johns. 8 notes

Date Published: November 1, 2006