Sexual child abuse as an antecedent to prostitution

Mimi H. Silbert, Ayala M. Pines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


A study of 200 juvenile and adult street prostitutes documented extremely high levels of sexual child abuse in their background. Sixty percent of the subjects were sexually exploited by an average of two people each, over an average period of 20 months. Two-thirds were sexually abused by father figures. The abuse had extremely negative emotional, physical, and attitudinal impacts. Seventy percent of the women reported that the sexual exploitation definitely affected their decision to become a prostitute. The others reflected the influence in their open-ended comments. Findings make a unique contribution to both the studies of the antecedents to prostitution, and the long-term impacts of sexual child abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-411
Number of pages5
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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