Youth Engaging in Prostitution: An examination of race, gender, and their intersections
Thornton Dill, Bonnie
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Between 2008 and 2012, 10 states took steps to decriminalize young people arrested for prostitution while providing them with court-mandated services to help them recover from their experiences with prostitution. In 2006, the National Institute of Justice funded a study to estimate the population of youth engaging in prostitution in the New York City area. As a part of the study, 249 young people engaging in prostitution (YEP) were interviewed about their experiences. This dissertation explores the legislation created to address YEP and the incorporation of ideas in public discourse into legislative policy, as well as how these policies reflect the experiences and needs of YEP as they articulate them. This interdisciplinary, feminist study explores how these differing constructions and the relationships between them are built within raced, gendered, and classed power relations. To answer these questions, the dissertation uses quantitative and qualitative methods and draws from theories of feminism, intersectionality, harm reduction, and strength-based social work.