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Why the Shocking Rise in Prostitution? - An Appalling Report of Greed, Brutality - And Public Neglect

NCJ Number
Reader's Digest Dated: (May 1978) Pages: 203-204,206,208,210
N M Adams
Date Published
5 pages
This discussion of prostitution in the U.S. points out that prostitution and related crimes have reached alarming proportions in nearly every major American city.
In 1976, a Federal study estimated that between 519,500 and 635,000 youths, ages 10 to 17, had run away from home in the preceding 12 months. Attracted to major cities, most runaways are unable to find employment, shelter, or food and become prime targets for procurers and pimps. A Washington, D.C., study found that 7 out of 10 runaway girls become involved in some form of prostitution. In New York, the police have 3,000 procurers on file and most have at least 2 girls working for them. The vast majority of pimps who control street prostitutes are black. Pimps are not the only profiteers of prostitution. Quick money, and near total lack of punishment, has attracted a wide variety of subsidiary industries, including trick pads (or hotels) renting out rooms to prostitutes and their customers. One notorious trick pad in Washington, D.C., took in an estimated $500,000 a year before it was finally closed by police. Organized crime has profited by backing massage parlors, which are really thinly disguised brothels. Lack of enforcement by the law has also fed the rise in the abuse and traffic in children for sexual exploitation. Steps must be taken to stop the increase in prostitution. State and local governments must launch all-out drives against pimps and procurers. Penalties for convicted panderers must be increased (most involve no more than a year in prison). Cities should invoke civil laws, such as nuisance laws, and building code and health code violations for sex establishments and trick pads. Laws should be stringently enforced and fines should be increased. Youth shelters in major cities should be expanded and their services publicized. Finally, Congress and the courts should review the first amendment rights now being manipulated by sex offenders.