Examining Policy Preferences for Prostitution Regulation Among American Males: The Influence of Contextual Beliefs

Christina Mancini, Justin T. Pickett, Kristen M. Budd, Stephanie Bontrager, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The arguments for criminalizing prostitution surround public concerns—moral order, public health, and safety. For this reason, an understanding of attitudes about the nature and consequences of the practice, particularly among American males, the presumed consumers of sex-related exchanges, is needed. Specifically, how do contextual beliefs about the nature of prostitution (e.g., negative health effects, victimization risk, age of entry) shape policy preferences regarding prostitution? Data from a nationally representative survey developed to solicit sensitive information are utilized to assess these attitudes among a large sample of American men (N = 2,525). Results show that paradoxically most men approve of legalizing commercial sex exchange, even while believing the practice harms prostitutes by increasing victimization risk and reducing their overall well-being. Multivariate analysis indicates divides in opinion regarding legalization support. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCriminal Justice Review
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • courts/law
  • crime policy
  • criminal victimization
  • other
  • public order crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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