This article provides new knowledge on the social background of women involved in indoor prostitution by integrating a novel data source in terms of administrative register data. Questions concerning dynamics of entry and whether sex-sellers have a more socially marginalised position than others have long been debated in research. Based on register data on 1128 female sex-sellers, the article takes an important step towards answering such questions by analysing and comparing the social background of sex-sellers and of a matched sample of Danish women (n = 73,320). The study includes descriptive insights into a number of indicators, including demographics, out-of-home placement, mental health problems, drug problems, incarceration, educational attainment and labour market attachment. Multivariate regression models are used to examine potential predictors of involvement in prostitution. The findings show that indoor sex-sellers often come from a socially marginalised background and experience multiple social vulnerabilities in both childhood and adulthood. Furthermore, the study shows strong associations between indicators of social vulnerability and selling sex. Especially indicators of an unstable childhood environment (e.g. out-of-home placements and mothers’ incarceration) and indicators of social marginalisation in adulthood (e.g. incarceration and mental health problems) have proven to have a strong association with involvement in prostitution as an adult.
About this publication
Financed byFSE. Forskningsrådet for Samfund og Erhverv
Published inSociological Research Online