Numbers buzz in my head like wasps. - Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen) in Rocketship X-M
Today’s column is merely a handy compilation of numbers and figures which have previously appeared in other columns, arranged in order of decreasing magnitude. Because of the shadowy nature of our trade these are all estimates, but most of the links will lead the reader to the source of the estimate or the column in which I explain how it was calculated.
27 million: According to a December 2010 “estimate” by “Free the Slaves”, the total number of people “trapped in modern-day slavery” (see also “800,000” below).
$22.6 million: Total annual amount the State of Texas spends on imprisoning prostitutes.
800,000: According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the total number of “human trafficking victims” worldwide (see also “27 million” above and “300,000“, “80,000“, “17,500” and “>10%” below).
443,323: The total number of active, declared prostitutes in the United States.
100,000-300,000: According to trafficking fanatics, the number of “trafficked child prostitutes” in the United States; this is the result of a misquote from the 2001 Estes and Weiner study which estimated 100,000-300,000 children, adolescents and young adults “at risk of sexual exploitation”, with sex trafficking as the rarest category of “exploitation” (see also “15,694“, “17,500” and “2511” below).
80,000: The number of Filipino women who lost good jobs in Japan due to U.S. State Department meddling, “for their own good” (see also “800,000” above and “>10%” below).
70,000: The total number of streetwalkers in the US (see also “443,323” above).
15,694: The total number of all American prostitutes under 18.
14,500-17,500: 2008 federal estimate of all “trafficked persons” of all ages and employment types (sex, agriculture, etc) in the US.
2511: The total number of coerced (whether “trafficked” or not) prostitutes under 18 in the US.
160x: High-end estimate of the factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in the escort population (see also “3-5%“, “2x” and “0.4%” below).
97%: Percentage of escorts who report an increase in self-esteem after they entered the trade (see also “72%” and “60%” below).
84%: The percentage of underage prostitutes in New York City who have never even met a pimp.
81%: Fraction of Swedes who report being “angry” about the criminalization of prostitution clients (contrast with the Swedish government claim that 76% support the law).
80%: According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the fraction of “human trafficking” cases involving forced prostitution. Another popular guess is 46% (from a study by the University of California at Berkeley), and other “authorities” claim numbers as low as 20%.
78%: Fraction of Dutch citizens who feel that prostitution is a job like any other.
77%: The percentage of escorts who feel their clients respect them.
75%: The percentage of escorts who feel the job improved their lives.
72%: The percentage of all prostitutes who report that their work has increased their self-esteem (see also “97%” above).
70%: The percentage of Australian prostitutes who said they would choose the same trade if they had their lives to live over again.
69%: According to Kinsey (1948), the percentage of men who have paid for sex at least once in their lives. Other studies have generated numbers as high as 80% and more recent studies much lower ones by careless phrasing (e.g., “employ prostitutes” rather than “have ever paid for sex”), but Kinsey’s is the estimate that best fits my own observations and those of many other pros.
60%: My own estimate of the fraction of American prostitutes who are escorts (either independent or agency).
54%: The percentage of escorts who consider the transaction as equal.
>50%: The fraction of pimped streetwalkers (see below) who control their pimps rather than vice-versa.
<50%: The percentage of streetwalkers who work with pimps at least part of the time.
33%: Sweden’s official estimate of the fraction of all Swedish prostitutes who are streetwalkers; note that it is more than twice as high as the standard estimate for Western countries (see “15%” below).
26%: The percentage of escorts who feel they have power over their clients.
25%: Estimated decrease in the American rape rate if prostitution were legalized.
25%: The fraction of Queensland prostitutes with a university degree.
25: By my own calculations (see link for details), the average age at which American prostitutes enter the trade.
20%: The percentage of men who see prostitutes at least occasionally.
15%: The fraction of all Western prostitutes who are streetwalkers.
13-14: According to prohibitionist propaganda, the average age at which prostitutes enter the trade; this is derived from a purposeful distortion by Melissa Farley of the age at which underage streetwalkers in one study reported they had their first noncommercial sexual contact of any kind.
11%: In a 1910 study, the fraction of New York prostitutes who reported that they were coerced into the trade (from Russell’s Renegade History of the United States; see also “8%” below).
>10%: According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the fraction of all “human trafficking victims” who were “enslaved” in Japanese hostess clubs (see also “800,000” and “80,000” above).
10%: Fraction of Dutch prostitutes who are genetically male; half are male prostitutes (many of them cross-dressers) and the other half transsexuals.
10%: The percentage of Swedish girls who admit to having accepted money for sex.
10%: The estimated percentage of streetwalkers in Western countries who are controlled or dominated by pimps (see also “1.5%” below).
10: The number of American states which allow prostitutes to be sentenced to prison.
5-10%: Historically, the percentage of the female population who prostituted themselves at least part-time, varying by time and place (from Roberts’ Whores in History).
8%: High-end estimate for the fraction of female inhabitants of 1840s London who were employed as prostitutes (from Roberts’ Whores in History).
8%: Fraction of underage New York prostitutes who say they were forced into prostitution.
7%: Fraction of prostitutes targeted by a recent FBI underage prostitution “sting” who actually turned out to be under 18 (no figures are available on what fraction were below the local age of consent).
6%: The percentage of men who see prostitutes frequently.
5.5%: Typical percentage of the female inhabitants of a 19th-century European or American city who were employed as prostitutes at any given time (from Roberts’ Whores in History).
3-5%: Fraction of STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by prostitutes; 93% of these are associated with streetwalkers (see also “160x” above and “2x” and “0.4%” below).
4%: Approximate conviction rate for arrests made in the FBI’s “Operation Innocence Lost”.
3.54%: The fraction of Western prostitutes who are under 18.
2.3%: Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely controlling”.
2x: Factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in streetwalkers (see also “160x” and “3-5%” above, and “0.4%” below).
<2%: The fraction of Cambodian prostitutes who say they were coerced into the trade (see also “1.5%” below).
1.5%: The overall percentage of adult prostitutes in Western nations who are controlled by abusive pimps.
1.2%: Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely violent”.
1%: The percentage of modern American women who admit to having prostituted themselves at some point in their lives (from the National Task Force on Prostitution, quoted in Sex Work by Delacoste & Alexander).
0.4%: The estimated fraction of all STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by escorts or brothel workers (see also “160x“, “3-5%” and “2x” above).
0.285%: The percentage of women in modern Western cultures who work as prostitutes at any given time.
0.014%: The fraction of missing “children” (most of whom are actually adolescents) who are abducted by strangers; only some of these might be the victims of sex traffickers.