The Nature of Prostitution
The Nature of Prostitution
Many societal problems experienced today such as law violations and crimes are highly associated with poverty and lack access to jobs. Data beginning from 2000 shows 73 percent of all women in poverty was women in color or in minority. Especially in the case of Back women, majority of arrests are done in areas where poverty is experienced the most. Significantly during that year, 85 percent of all arrested women are from African American descent and recorded as the highest increase rate since 1995. The incarceration rates fro Black women are higher than those for white males arrested.
Several leading causes for Black women arrests are controlled use of substances, assault, larceny and prostitution. Three-fourths of black women arrests and sentencing causing incarceration aside from use of controlled substances is prostitution. However, aside from such quantitative evidence showing the existing problem between black women and prostitution, there is the realization that these factors also limit the opportunities for women of color. Lack of training and educational attainment and opportunities significantly results to experiencing the vicious cycle of poverty among black women.
Amidst the economic boom in the late 1990’s, more black women experienced unemployment and limited access to welfare. Rationale A prostitute, by definition, is one who exchanges sex or sexual favors for money, drugs, or other desirable commodities (Overall, 1992). During the past decades, there is a substantial increase of attention paid to the sex industry, and to the women who engage in prostitution for various reasons. Many researches have focused on addressing the need for governmental funding sources, which specifically mentions drug-related issues with prostitution and associated risk-factors on health knowledge and behavior.
The diversity of types associated with prostitution has a rich and vast history of literature for reference; however, the homogeneity associated with prostitution as a profession, has formed a false stereotype and often fills in very broad and ill-fitted categorizations. Although such rich context about prostitution recognize the commonality among women engaging in prostitution to affects social and policy-making processes, recognition of the uniqueness within each situation entails a more detailed account of how prostitution is for each women who engages in it.
Moreover, such study shall further focus on black women to include other factors such as race, gender and others. Law-enforcement strategies have reinvented the face of prostitution in most countries. Many women working in the sex trade industry has not only increased in numbers, but also increased the opportunity to advertise and sex trade off the streets. Prostitution has evolved from a short-term means of employment to a profession and a career. This ultimately affects their orientation about prostitution and their length of tenure to sex work which consequently motivates them to execute the trade completely.
The research aims to determine the face of prostitution among black women in context of influencing factors and behavior. Specifically in three focused contexts; analyzing how black women engage in prostitution, their risk awareness and resilience, and their exit from prostitution. Problem Statement The general problem of the study is stated as: How do the stages of prostitution influence black women? Specific Questions: 1. What is prostitution? 2. What are the stages of prostitution? 3. What are the influences on black women entering prostitution?
4. How do black women socially adjust to prostitution? 5. What are the factors influencing the adjustment of black women in prostitution? 6. How do black women socially immerse in prostitution? 7. What are the factors influencing the immersion of black women in prostitution? 8. How do black women exit prostitution? 9. What are the factors influencing the exit of black women from prostitution? 10. What are the seen limitations and opportunities for black women after engaging in prostitution? Objectives The study shall aim to: 1.
enumerate the influencing factors of prostitution on black women 2. enumerate the stages of prostitution 3. describe how these factors influence the behavior and attitudes of black women on prostitution 4. determine the level of risk awareness of black women engaging in prostitution 5. determine the sources and behavior of black women engaging in prostitution on the risks of prostitution 6. determine how black women exit prostitution 7. determine the limitations and opportunities for black women after engaging in prostitution Significance of the study
The study is important in the growing literature on the sociology of human behavior with regards to prostitution. Since prostitution encompass different degrees, reasons, ethnicity, and the prominence of sex trade among women, it shall provide an analysis on how and why black women specifically engage in the process of prostitution. Even further, the study analyzes the dimensions to which prostitution is understood in the context based on African American studies and how it relates to the entire comprehension of prostitution among women.
Recent development in sociology and behavioral literature has re-oriented its goal in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts on women who engage in prostitution. This is a significant development in efforts to not just understand, but also influence policies regarding the implementation of regulations on the subject of sex trading, and how it can influence the decrease of women having to sell sex in order to live. Limitations of the study The study focuses on prostitution among women and the reasons for their engagement on the profession, their exit, and their level of awareness on the risk of prostitution.
The general topic regarding prostitution is very broad and diversified, and the study aims to focus or stratify the area based on race and ethnicity. Focusing on black women alone serves as a limitation because the study does not aim to generalized the reasons and factors of engagement, risks awareness, and exit on prostitution, Rather it maintains its scope on black women. The study also is significantly dependent on the respondent’s accounts of their own experiences, drawing relevant information through focal group discussions and in-depth interviews.
The chosen research methods may pose certain limitations for the study in terms of validity of using self-reporting as a measurement method. Time is also a limiting factor as it specifies a given time-frame for the research to be conducted, like any research based on a time-frame, time constraints is based on researcher’s capability to conduct the research given the limited allocation of resources for this particular study. Operational Definition of Terms Black women- women of African American descent
Prostitution- engagement in sex or doing sexual favors for money, drugs or other desirable commodities as defined by Overall (1992). This definition shall encompass the different types of street prostitutes: • Conventional Prostitute- women controlled by pimps who set the rules, controls their actions, and takes their earnings. The prostitute has no control over her actions and is less likely to achieve provisions for her to enjoy time, attention and affection.
• Renegade- women who works independently from pimps and relies on opportunities working in the streets to gain financial opportunities. They are interested in gaining fair and even exchange as agreed upon with their customers. • Outlaw- prostitutes who are only interested in manipulating, exploiting and even robbing their customers during sex exchange to either get the money or whatever commodity they need to sustain the lifestyle they have. Review of Related Literature Historical Background The study shall encompass several areas needed to understand the topic all throughout.
It shall begin with a review of the historical context of prostitution. Several research explorations on contemporary American feminist debates on prostitution argues more of the significant attribution of prostitution towards “First World” women working in the sex trade industry for their needs. Prostitution as some literature reviews would say concerns not only the contractual consent of sex as pay for such favours, but goes beyond the conceptualization of the rights and wrongs of sex work.
In the book of Nancy Hirchmann entitled “The Subject of Liberty: Toward a Feminist Theory of Freedom”, the feminist theory of freedom is explored and is applied to various wherein women’s freedom is compromised, including the nature of sex trade. By relating actual experiences of women, the theory of freedom takes into account the complexities of choice and the urgency to which these choices has to be made. It enables us to understand how freedom affects choices and how freedom of women entails a misconception on the definition itself.
A prostitute can neither turn out to be entirely free nor purely self-regarding. In this context, the concept of liberalization of women is placed under restriction in the social construct within women’s choices. Increasing the social context of women’s choices entails redefining the social construction in order to further understand the products of such choices for women. For example, women who choose to engage in legal prostitution may result to more constraints for women because of the definite social construction for women and how such profession is inherently derogatory to women in social context.
Women who engage in prostitution accounts feminist freedom in two contexts: the participation in prostitution which is forced, and the other wherein she freely chooses to participate. In another review of a novel, Corregidora, the context of prostitution within black women is explored in historical assumptions. In the review of the novel, black women’s sexuality is a product of both historical oppression and cultural productivity as transcended through American slavery and African American blues expressivity.
This encompasses diagnosing the trauma from slavery and the reclamation of black women’s sensuality as their own through African American blues. The literary review depicts the relation of black women prostitution in context of literary works which attempts to explain in the development of sensuality and eventually prostitution throughout black women history. Going further on the feminist views regarding prostitution, debates and analysis are critically informed and shaped through engagements in the exploitation experienced by women.
Some argues against prostitution because of the physical and symbolic practices of violence experienced by women who engage in prostitution. Feminist debates against prostitution is based upon the implication it serves on the realities of women who engage in sex trade and the symbolic grounds tow hic violence, vulnerability, protection and danger happens. In Shah (2004) review of essays detailing the nature of feminist debates against prostitution, several terrains regarding sex work, prostitution and violence has greatly been discussed.
Several advocates to prioritise decriminalization and or legalization of prostitution have contributed much to the awareness regarding the threats on prostitution. The review also mentioned that the debate on prostitution and sex works has its underpinnings on theory and politics. However, there are many ways by which women acts depending on situations. Prostitution is explained through this review as a terms used in the framework for rescue and rehabilitation efforts of many organizations.
Influencing Factors of Prostitution In a study conducted by Leggett (2001), prostitutes in urban areas in South Africa were examined to the extent to which drug addiction has led them towards prostitution. Significant findings of sex workers in three South African capitals had led to no association between drug addiction and prostitution. Using the ANOVA statistical analysis methods, significant findings of the study includes no association between drug use and HIV.
Quite significantly, results of the study shows that ethnicity and drug use is likely to be associated, and that hard drug user was less likely to get infected with HIV than non hard drug users among commercial sex workers in South Africa. In another study by Robinson et al. , (2005) of 163 low-income African American women, there was no significant relationship found between acculturation and risky sexual behaviors, and favorable attitudes and response towards the use of contraceptive methods that correlates consistent use of condoms.
African Americans in the United States is disproportionately infected with HIV and others sexually transmitted diseases. In a tsuy conducted in 2000, African Americans incurred 76& of gonorrhea cases, 71% of syphilis cases, 51% of HIV infection cases, and 38% diagnosed with AIDS. These findings alone question the risk awareness of black women who are exposed to the kind of profession they have in prostitution. Prostitution is one important factor in the increasing rate of HIV infection cases in the country.
However, as Hunter (2002) explains, the phenomena cannot explain the speed and persistence with which the infection spread in South Africa. Prostitution deeply inhibits the infection due to the major migrancy of reasons moving beyond prostitution alone. Some of which is attributed to relating sex with non-marital relationships based on transactional sex, or exchange of gifts in a broader set of obligations which may not involve payment in cash form.
This significantly broadens the concept of prostitution as not just involving payment in money alone, but also through commodities beneficial to a woman’s lifestyle. Women who engage in transactional sex often have access to power and resources that surpass the stereotyped from of prostitution. Street prostitution has evolved from short-term employment to a subculture as some social scientists would explain. Patterns of living, different set of norms and behaviors made them different from the normal culture of the society.
Often times, prostitutes are regarded as a minority in the society, or has became a new resort for people, women specifically, to sustain their needs and develop into a profession. Many studies has already tackled the violence, substance abuse and associated risk-taking on prostitution. Women of color are relatively more likely to get arrested and serve jail time because of prostitution. However, a new trend in studying prostitution has re-emerged in the face of studying about the recovery process of how African American women face and recover adversities and limitations on their opportunity to exit from prostitution.
Another essential area of study entails the understanding of the resilience process of recovering African American prostitutes. An earlier study attempted to study this aspect by interviewing 43 street-level prostitutes, not specifically black women alone, analyzing their entrance, maintenance and exit from the sex trade. Investigation of these women’s experiences laid emphasis on the exit attempts made by several of them.
18 participants of the study were gathered and results showed that five women had maintained their exit form prostitution, nine returned to prostitution and drug use, and one returned to prostitution only. Three of the participants had violated their parole and had been reincarcerated. Theoretical Framework Social scientists have long pursued this topic and several arguments remained imbedded between sympathizing for the women who engage in this form of work, and for the abolization of such sex trade in societies.
In understanding the context of prostitution, we shall examine the topic and be guided by three main theoretical frameworks constructed over the years. It must be noted that some of these proposed theories has been created to overlap other existing models of theories in explaining prostitution. The Functionalist Approach The functionalist approach describes the inevitability view of prostitution in society. As explained by Jarvinen: “Prostitution is a normal and universal phenomenon, existing in all periods and all known societies.
The functionalsits considers prostitution as… a natural and unavoidable phenomenon… which is relatively independent of the societal structure and level of development”. Prostitution is highly regarded in the functionalist view as one of the main aspect in marriage dichotomy. When married men do not get sex from their wives, whether in quantity or variability, prostitution offers them what they want and need. The functionalist approach upholds prostitution as a complementary institution to marriage and pose women as a model for deviants.
Since women have different attitudes, this perspective entails restrictions of prostitutes and not on prostitution because this formalizes the need for controlling measures against social disturbances such as diseases and others. The functionalist approach emphasizes the need of men to satisfy their sexual needs thus entailing prostitution as an important social function in the society. In terms of women turning to prostitutes, depending on the different views considered such as social, emotional, economic or mental. Feminism and Control
As a response to women prostitutes as deviant beings in the society, feminist theory analyzes the control of prostitution as an explicit manner by which women are being controlled. The feminist view is consistent in attributing the inequality between men and women and the historically recognized demand and supply for sexual services which defies another form of gender inequality. Feminist contests that the idea of prostitution insists the patriarchy within the society and creates a dominant perspective n the availability and exchangeability of a women’s body as a commodity.