вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

A Working Girl Can't Win

Prostitutes make good money, a new study argues — but not enough to offset the risks the job involves. The economist Steven D. Levitt and the sociologist Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh sent researchers into the streets of Chicago to record how much prostitutes earn and to assess the hazards they face. Analyzing Chicago Police Department data on prostitution arrests, the authors argue that paying for sex in some ways resembles paying for any other service on the open market. Almost half of prostitution-related arrests were made on just 0.3 percent of the 25,000 city blocks surveyed, and prostitution incidents tended to occur along major streets — suggesting that prostitutes, like other retailers, need to display their wares in concentrated and consistent locations where potential consumers congregate. As far as sales are concerned, the setup seems to work: the prostitutes surveyed over a two-year period averaged $27 an hour, or about $300 to $400 a week. Women reporting to a pimp fared even better. Although they had to hand over 25 percent of their earnings, they still made roughly 50 percent more than women without pimps. Compared with the wages these women could earn in retail sales, hairstyling, or babysitting (from $67 to $145 per week), prostitution looks like a much better deal. But the authors suggest that the dangers of the job outweigh the financial incentives. Not only did prostitutes engage in sexual acts without a condom 75 percent of the time, they also were the victims of abuse by clients or pimps once a month on average.

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