Prostitution is classified as victimless or consensual offence, because it is generally assumed that in such shady deals services are willingly offered and taken. But research done all over the world— in developed, developing and under developed countries shows that may not be the true picture of prostitution.
Sexual and physical violence and pornography
Most prostitutes have been subject to sexual and physical violence at some point of time in the line of their job. A US survey among adults working in prostitution reported the following:
► 82% had been physically assaulted;
► 83% had been threatened with a weapon;
► 73% had been raped while working as a prostitute;
► 70% were victims of sexual assault by customers;
► 50% were reportedly kidnapped by pimps;
► 76% were beaten by pimps;
► 79% were beaten by customers;
In another study 38% of prostitutes stated that pimps regularly exposed them to pornography. 80% stated that customers used pornographic videos and photographs to demonstrate which activities they wanted the prostitutes to perform, most often for kinky sex.
Prostitution causes harm to women and children
Melissa Farley who conducted an extensive research on prostitution in the US, observes in her “Prostitution: Fact sheet on Human Rights Violations”, that prostitution involves sexual harassment, battering, rape, verbal abuse, childhood sexual abuse and a violation of human rights on the whole. Farley writes, "Whether it is being sold by one's family to a brothel, or whether it is being sexually abused in one's family, running away from home, and then being pimped by one's boyfriend, or whether one is in college and needs to pay for next semester's tuition and one works at a strip club behind glass where men never actually touch you – all these forms of prostitution hurt the women in it."
Statistics in the West
Given the clandestine nature of this trade and the social stigma attached to it, statistical data are extremely difficult to gather, but researches suggest that there are more than 1 million prostitutes in the US and 80, 000 in the UK.