U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Early Sexual Exploitation as an Influence in Prostitution (From Child Abuse, P 195-199, 1988 -See NCJ-116992)

NCJ Number
M H Silbert; A M Pines
Date Published
5 pages
To examine the relationship between childhood sexual exploitation and later prostitution, interviews were conducted with 200 current and former prostitutes, aged 10 to 46, in the San Francisco Bay area.
Results documented high levels of victimization of these street prostitutes both before and after their entrance into prostitution: 60 percent were sexually exploited as juveniles by an average of two males each. Over an average of 20 months, each abuser assaulted the child an average of two or three times. Victims ranged in age from three to 16 at time of victimization; and two-thirds had been sexually abused by a father or surrogate. The average abuser was in his 30's, and alcohol or drug involvement was reported by 58 percent of subjects. In 81 percent of cases, physical force, emotional coercion, or both were used. The vast majority of subjects lost their virginity through sexual exploitation; and the abuse often produced severe physical harm, including bruises, cuts, shock, and broken bones. The immediate emotional harm reported by subjects also was severe. In 63 percent of the cases the subject had never told anyone of the abuse prior to the study. Of the 37 percent who did tell, 68 percent told their mothers; and only 2 percent reported the assault to police. In only 21 percent of cases did the abuse stop after its disclosure; and in 42 percent of cases no action was taken. Implications for victim services are discussed. 18 notes and references.