When people need jobs, they’ll do almost anything. Contrary to assumptions that women enter the prostitution market only because they are desperate or addicted to drugs, a new study indicates that many women, especially educated, affluent women, are making a rational decision to enter certain segments of the prostitution market, although prostitution is illegal nationwide except for a few counties in Nevada.

However, they do NOT enter the streetwalking part of the market. High-end escorts and women who use the Internet to find clients represented high-quality illegal prostitution. The low-quality illegal market referred to streetwalkers, women who walk the streets in search of customers. Economist Jennifer Hafer says, "The prostitution market may be pulling educated women–so-called ‘high-opportunity-cost’ women–out of the conventional labor market and the marriage market, in many cases.

The findings suggest that these women are not forced into the prostitution market but rather choose to enter it for many of the same reasons that people enter the conventional job market–money, stability, autonomy and even job satisfaction." Variables such as morals, effort, health risks, stigma, earnings and the probability of getting caught in an illegal activity all influence a woman’s decision. Hafer asks, "Is it better for society to make prostitution illegal in all circumstances? Legalize prostitution subject to regulation? If the demand for prostitution is present, there will always be supply."

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