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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides an overview of definitional issues concerning prostitution and their linkages to legal philosophies with respect to addressing commercial sex. It provides a description of patterns, trends, and varieties of prostitution. It reviews research evidence on the causes and correlates of prostitution, as well as direct and collateral consequences. There appears to be a strong connection between drug use and prostitution, although the causal nexus is unclear. It considers the range of policy responses to prostitution, including currently popular criminal justice and other intervention strategies. Western countries have developed more effective policies that produce fewer harmful consequences. The complexity and variations of prostitution suggest the need for a comparably diverse and complex array of intervention strategies. The article concludes with suggestions of fruitful directions for research and policy.

Keywords: prostitution, sex, causes, consequences, drug use, legal philosophies

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