Racial and Ethnic Segmentation of Female Prostitution in Los Angeles County

Published in: Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, v. 17, no. 1/2, 2005, p. 107-129

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by Janet Lever, David E. Kanouse, Sandra H. Berry

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Previous studies of female sex workers engaged in prostitution have focused primarily on street-based workers, who are more visible and approachable than women working off the street. As part of a study estimating the size and characteristics of the work force of female prostitutes in Los Angeles County, the authors examined the hidden population of women who solicit clients in private locales off the street. Data sources included law enforcement personnel and staff in other government agencies; ethnographic informants; directories and other written materials; and the World Wide Web. Results show a high degree of racial and ethnic segmentation in the sex industry, reflecting an influx of ethnic entrepreneurs who market prostitution in culturally specific ways.

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