The average age of entry into prostitution in the US is 14.

Between 75 to over 90% of prostituted girls and women are victims of childhood sexual abuse, often with multiple perpetrators.

In a 1998 study of prostitution in five countries including the US, 73% of prostituted women reported physical assault in prostitution, 62% reported having been raped in prostitution, and 67% met the criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (compared to 5% of the general population).

The study found that while there were differences in sexual abuse in the women’s backgrounds, prostitution itself caused acute psychological distress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Prostituted women who worked on the streets experienced more violence than those who worked in brothels, but those who worked in brothels were just as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some prostitutes who had worked in brothels left to work on the streets. They reported that in legal prostitution, they were under the complete control of the brothel owners/pimps, could not refuse customers, and were regularly sexually assaulted by physicians who checked them for disease.

The study found that 84% of prostituted women in the US currently are or have been homeless. Seventy three percent needed a physical place of asylum, 70% needed job training, 55% wanted individual counseling, 49% wanted peer support, and 47% needed childcare. Twenty four percent thought that prostitution should be legalized.

In this study, 92% of the women said they wanted to leave prostitution.

A Canadian report of 1992 found that women and girls in prostitution had a mortality rate 40 times higher than the national average.

The Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, OR reported that prostituted women were raped about once a week.

It is estimated that 90% of prostitution is pimp-controlled. Sexual and physical abuse is often used by pimps to keep women from escaping.

Women and girls trying to leave the sex industry often have the same needs that battered women have when they flee with no money and no place to go.

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