Study: Cultural Atitudes, Not Legality Determine Popularity of Prostitution

Study: Cultural Atitudes, Not Legality Determine Popularity of Prostitution

World wide, prostitution services are in high demand, especially in countries where it’s deemed illegal.

According to a recent study, prostitution is illegal in about 50% of 100 countries polled. Limited legality was found in 11% of the countries studied, and prostitution was completely outlawed in 39% of the countries polled. Regardless of legality, prostitution is an emotionally driven, and much debated topic, and whether or not the act of paying for sex is looked down on depends almost entirely on the culture of the nation in question. So, exactly how common is prostitution?

A recent study conducted by ProCon, analyzed data collected by 21 studies on sex work in 15 countries. Of the world countries studied, the range of men who seek out sex workers was large. The United Kingdom had the lowest percentage of men seeking out the service of prostitutes at 8.8%, while Cambodia had the highest rate of use at about 80%. The data found that the rate of use was largely dependent on the cultural attitudes towards sex, rather than the legality of prostitution.

According to the study, about 20% of men in the United States utilized the service of prostitutes between the years of 1994 and 2010. The data collected for the United States placed it in the middle range for utilization of prostitution, of the 15 countries studied. The United Kingdom’s data suggest that men in the UK are the least likely to utilize the services of prostitutes, with an estimate of 8.8% of men utilizing such services between 1994 and 2010. Prostitution was most commonly practiced in Cambodia and Thailand. The studies estimated that between 60% and 80% of men in Cambodia actively utilized the services of sex workers. Thailand was not far behind with roughly 75% of men admitting to utilizing sex services.

According to the study, in Thailand and Cambodia it is common for young boys to begin visiting sex workers by the age of 13. About 90% of university students in the countries have visited brothels, and businessmen often entertain potential clients at illegal brothels. In countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, visiting sex workers is taboo. Men who are divorced or separated, and middle-aged, are the most highly reported demographic. Higher divorce rates, and increased growth in the market, however, are noted as reasons for increasing numbers of men seeking out sex workers in the United States. Both the United States and the United Kingdom have limited legality regarding prostitution. Cambodia and Thailand, which have the highest rates of prostitution participation, interestingly, have laws that prohibit all forms of prostitution and sex work.

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