Street prostitution is a form of sex work in which a sex worker solicits customers from a public place, most commonly a street, while waiting at street corners or walking alongside a street, but also other public places such as parks, benches, etc. The street prostitute is often dressed in a provocative manner. The sex act may be performed in the customer's car, in a nearby secluded street location, or at the prostitute's residence or in a rented motel room.
It is estimated that only 10-20 percent of sex workers are working in the streets; however, it is also estimated that 90 percent of the arrests of prostitutes are of street workers.
Some jurisdictions also outlaw kerb crawling, slowly driving around with the intent to procure the services of a prostitute.
In Australia, in New South Wales it is legal to solicit on the streets, except in some areas (such as near schools). The other Australian states and territories prohibit street solicitation, although some of these jurisdictions allow licensed brothels.
In the United States, street prostitution is illegal in all 50 states; 49 of the states outlaw all forms of prostitution. Nevada allows licensed brothels, but only in some rural areas, not in the major metropolitan areas (only 8 counties have active brothels and prostitution outside these brothels is illegal throughout the state).
In four towns in the Netherlands, a special zone (tippelzone) is designated for legal street prostitution. The zone is often in a business park, to avoid inconvenience for residents and can include a sex drive-in (afwerkplek). In most of the zones the prostitutes need a licence.
Risks and research
The World Health Organization reported that a study in Bangladesh found that between 50% and 60% of street-based prostitutes had been raped by men in uniform, and between 40% and 50% had been raped by local clients.
Melissa Farley's study of 854 prostitutes in nine countries—Canada, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, and Zambia—found that 95% of prostitutes had been physically assaulted, and 75% had been raped. 89% of the women interviewed stated that they wanted to leave prostitution. However, the methodology and neutrality of Farley's studies has been criticised by other academics such as Ronald Weitzer. Weitzer has also said that Farley's findings are heavily influenced by radical feminist ideology.
In a 2008 study of Chicago, USA street prostitutes, economists Steven D. Levitt and Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh found that women working without pimps work for an average hourly rate of about $25, and those working with pimps make 50% more. This is roughly four times the wage of other jobs available to them. Prostitutes are arrested once for every 450 encounters and every 10th arrest results in jail time.
Impact of COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, contact professions (which includes prostitution, amongst others) had been banned (temporarily) in some countries. This has resulted in a local reduction of prostitution.
- Harcourt, Christine; Donovan, Basil (June 2005). "The Many Faces of Sex Work". Sexually Transmitted Infections. 81 (3): 201–206. doi:10.1136/sti.2004.012468. PMC 1744977. PMID 15923285. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- "Paying the Price: a consultation paper on prostitution" (PDF). UK Home Office. 2004. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- Lucas, Ann (September 2013). "Race, Class, Gender, and Deviancy: The Criminalization of Prostitution". Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice. 10 (1): 48–49. doi:10.15779/Z38758N.
- S. 1(1) of the Street Offences Act 1959 as amended by section 16 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009
- Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW).
- Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA).
- Sex Work Act 1994 (Vic).
- "Prostitution Reform Act 2003". legislation.govt.nz. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
- Gunter, Joel; Ben, Clissitt. "Welcome to Paradise". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- "Street prostitution". Soa Aids Nederland. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- (18 August 2008). Onderzoek naar ruimere afwerkplek, Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch) (article states prostitutes are reporting that the stalls in the Utrecht facility are too small for some luxury cars and SUVs, as the facility has remained mostly unchanged since its construction in 1986)
- "World Health Organization" (PDF). World Health Organization. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
- Farley, Melissa; Cotton, Ann; Lynne, Jacqueline; Zumbeck, Sybille; Spiwak, Frida; Reyes, Maria E.; Alvarez, Dinorah; Sezgin, Ufuk (2004). "Prostitution and Trafficking in Nine Countries". Journal of Trauma Practice. 2 (3–4): 33–74. doi:10.1300/j189v02n03_03. S2CID 153827303.
- Weitzer, Ronald (July 2005). "Flawed theory and method in studies of prostitution". Violence Against Women. 11 (7): 934–949. doi:10.1177/1077801205276986. PMID 16043578. S2CID 29745148. Pdf.
- Weitzer, R. "Flawed theory and method in studies of prostitution" (above-cited);
- "The articles in question are by Jody Raphael and Deborah Shapiro (2004), Melissa Farley (2004), and Janice Raymond (2004). At least two of the authors (Farley and Raymond) are activists involved in the anti-prostitution campaign. [...] The three articles are only the most recent examples in a long line of writings on the sex industry by authors who adopt an extreme version of radical feminist theory—extreme in the sense that it is absolutist, doctrinaire, and unscientific."
- Jordan, Ann; et al. (21 April 2005). "Letter to Ambassador John Miller" (PDF). Center for Health and Gender Equity. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2009.
- Steven D. Levitt (April 2009). "Trading Tricks: The Economics of Prostitution". The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
- "Impact of COVID-19 on Sex Workers in Europe". Global Network of Sex Work Projects. 6 July 2020.