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SOWK 6361 Week 3 Project
Racquel Walsh
Walden University
One of the many social problems that are currently affecting many young teens in today’s
society is the prostitution of teenagers. Teenage prostitution can be incongruent with social work
ethics and values because the self-worth and dignity of the teen individual are being
compromised. Many young teenagers from certain neighborhoods/communities high in poverty
may use prostitution as a means to make income and to support themselves, while some teens are
forced into a life of prostitution against his/her will. Many individuals can perceive prostitution
as being highly immoral because it goes against what is perceived as acceptable human behavior,
while some individuals may perceive it as a reliable way to generate a steady income. Religious
and conservative members of society will especially view prostitution as unacceptable and
immoral behavior. Although prostitution has been around for many years, the prostitution of
teenagers is a growing issue in society that does not get the attention it should and deserves. I
believe that it would not be uncommon to find teen prostitutes in high tourist places and/or
neighborhoods/communities high in poverty selling their bodies or performing sexual acts in
exchange for money or other valuables rather it be willingly or unwillingly. Although there are
many policies currently in place for teenage prostitution, the social problem of teenage
prostitution is still hard to control and combat.
Regardless of the community resources, government-funded programs, sex education in
schools, and other assistance/services, there seems to be a great inability to be able to control and
stop the speed of the various sexually transmitted diseases within the teenage population. Even
with all of the various laws and policies regarding teenage prostitution, it remains a growing
social issue. There is a need for stricter laws and policies regarding teenage prostitution, and
these laws should also protect the victims of teenage prostitution.
The world’s oldest profession is prostitution. Prostitution can be found in ancient Greece
as well as ancient Mesopotamia. Among those served by the prostitutes in ancient Greece and
Mesopotamia were political leaders, priests, and highly respected men. During the 19
prostitution was tolerated by some, while others viewed it as immoral and unacceptable
behavior. The Europeans were among the first to have legal brothels, in which they were able to
apply legal taxes to the services provided by the prostitutes are the brothels. By the 1900s
prostitution made its way to the United States, some favored it, and some were against it.
Amongst those against prostitution in the United States were religious groups and various
activist groups and organizations, who would often speak out against prostitution. During this
time young women belonging to the middle-class group of society would turn to a life of
prostitution causing the behavior to spread to big cities across the United States. The lack of
support from the government and policymakers made it difficult for religious groups and various
activist groups and organizations to control the spread of prostitution as well as the rate at which
the behavior was spreading.
Many individuals who have prostituted, whether if it was willingly or unwillingly may find it
very difficult to care for themselves and/or leave the lifestyle due to the loyalty and/or
connection that they may have/feel for their pimp. Teenagers tend to be easily impressionable, so
the fast and sometimes flashy lifestyle that tends to come with prostitution can cloud the teen’s
judgment. The teen’s judgment being clouded can cause them to lose interest and become no
longer concerned about his/her future. Young college students caught up in a life of prostitution
may grow to no regard for their college studies and find it to be waste of time when they look at
how easy and fast they can generate income and may find it pointless to get an honest job. The
abuse that often comes with prostitution is very evident being as the majority of prostitutes are
often beaten, drugged, raped, and contract various sexually transmitted diseases.
There are has been a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not the social issue of
prostitution should be legalized. Many laws often connect teenage prostitution with child abuse,
especially in cases in which there are adults involved. There is a great concern when it comes to
determining is these laws are necessary or not necessary. The creditability of most laws may be
questionable because they may not differentiate the difference between consenting to a life of
prostitution and a teenager who is being forced into a life of prostitution against his/her own will.
Regardless of if it was willing or unwilling the law must be maintained with added appeal and
strength for those that are not appropriate or relevant for modern-day/current society. There will
always be a debate on whether or not prostitution should be a legal business. When it comes to
teenage prostitution there should never be a law to legalize it. Legalizing prostitution could
cause, force, and influence more young teens into a life of prostitution.
The Coercion and Enticement policy which is cited as 18 USC 2422(b) is one of the most
commonly cited laws regarding teenage prostitution. This particular policy prohibits the issue of
any individual within the borders of the United States and its territories from knowingly
persuading and/or enticing an individual under the age of 18 years old to engage in sexual
activities/favors. The policy considers it to be a criminal offense in which individuals who
commit such acts are subjected to fines and time served in prison. Individuals found guilty of
violating this policy can serve 15 years in prison and/or fines. The Coercion and Enticement
Policy was last updated in 2001.
Laws against teenage prostitution are commonly and mostly supported that child
protection agencies/organizations and various religious groups. Over the years, laws regarding
teenage prostitution are constantly being reviewed, revising prison time and fines. The
controversial social issue of teenage prostitution will always be a highly debated topic from
various individuals calling for revisions, while other demand nothing should be changed about
the current laws/policies.
Teenagers who have engaged in prostitution often tend to have an extreme
loyalty/attachment to his/her pimp, so as a social work it may often sometimes be very difficult
to know whether or not a teen client willing to engage in prostitution or did so against his/her
own will. This policy could affect clients that I might see in a clinical setting because he/she
could blame him/themselves, especially if the client was forced into prostitution. As a clinical
social worker, it would be important to advocate for change because many state laws/policies
hold teenage prostitutes criminally responsible even if they were forced into prostitution.
Advocating for change could push policymakers to create stricter, clear, and concise laws
regarding teenage prostitution. As a social worker when advocating for change, I would also
advocate for rehabilitation services for teenage prostitute victims.
Breda, K. L. (2014). Book review: Sex trafficking: A clinical guide for nurses.@Journal of
Transcultural Nursing,@25(4), 418-419. doi:10.1177/1043659614525806
Department of Justice. 2001. COERCION AND ENTICEMENT (18 U.S.C. 2422)
Flowers, R. B. (2011)[email protected]Prostitution in the digital age: Selling sex from the suite to the street.
Santa Barbara, Calif. [u.a.: Praeger.
US federal and state prostitution laws and RELATED punishments - prostitution -
PROCON.ORG. (2020, April 05). Retrieved March 21, 2021, from
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