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Prostitution of Juveniles: Patterns From NIBRS

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2004
12 pages
This OJJDP (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) Bulletin from the "Crimes Against Children" series uses data from the National Incident-based Reporting System (NIBRS) to report on the prevalence and characteristics of the prostitution of juveniles through incidents known to the police in 13 States and 76 law enforcement agencies.
Prostitution offenses are relatively scarce in police reports. Although 14,230 prostitution incidents are recorded in NIBRS for 1997 through 2000, this represents only 0.17 percent of all crime incidents known to police during this period. The NIBRS data indicate that juvenile prostitution encountered by police is more likely than adult prostitution to involve multiple offenders; it is also more likely to occur indoors in large urban areas. The police report more contacts with male juvenile prostitutes than with female juvenile prostitutes. Male juvenile prostitutes have tended to be older than female juvenile prostitutes and more likely to operate outdoors. Police have been less likely to arrest juvenile prostitutes than adult prostitutes, but they have been more likely to arrest male juveniles than female juveniles; the police are more likely to refer female juveniles to other authorities, notably, social service agencies. Police have been more likely to categorize juveniles involved in prostitution as offenders rather than crime victims; those categorized as victims were more likely to be female and young. This bulletin recommends that law enforcement agencies and policymakers engage in more analysis, planning, and coordination regarding how to respond to and record episodes of juvenile prostitution. Given the limitations of NIBRS data and the current lack of systematic information on the prostitution of juveniles, this Bulletin recommends that much more research be conducted on this issue. 4 tables, 6 notes, and 14 references

Date Published: June 1, 2004