Reasons for prostitution – sellers
People sell sex for a longer or shorter time for a variety of reasons. The reasons often overlap, with one being replaced by another one over time. Below we have set out the most common causes:
Poverty. Global poverty and inequality is the most important reason why many people in the world see selling sex as a financial solution for themselves and their families. Many persons migrate from low-income countries to high-income ones to improve their financial situation. High-income countries often have strict immigration policies, and migrants often need the assistance from criminal networks to enter. Once in the country, because they entered it illegally, they usually end up in the shadow economy, that includes prostitution, begging, working in the black economy, or criminal activity.
Although Norway is a high-income country with an excellent welfare system, there are still Norwegians who experience relative poverty. Some people do however choose to sell sex to provide for their children, repay debt, pay rent or cover other expenses, but we know that very few people prefer prostitution if they have other alternatives.
Drug and alcohol abuse. Due to the high cost of sustaining an addiction, drug and alcohol dependence is another reason why some people sell sexual services. Often, people with substance abuse find that selling sexual services and their addiction problem become mutually dependent; the money from prostitution is used on drugs and alcohol, and they need the drugs and alcohol to cope with selling sex, thus creating a vicious circle.
High-spending. In our society, many people measure status and success in wealth and the ability to spend money on eating out, expensive holidays and expensive clothes. For some, selling sexual services becomes a mean to be able to live up to this ideal. A high-spending lifestyle can be addictive, making persons dependent on prostitution to uphold it.
Other reasons. People who have sold sexual services are more likely to have experienced violence and sexual abuse than the general population. Some state a problematic relationship with their sexuality as one of the reasons they started selling sex.
People who have experienced neglect in childhood, or who for some other reason have an unmet need for attention, for intimacy and social interaction, also sometimes end up in prostitution. Selling sex can give some individuals the appreciation, positive attention and sense of companionship that they crave.
People in vulnerable situations, such as young asylum-seekers or teenagers adrift, will sometimes exchange sexual services for shelter, food and care. Although similar to prostitution, the phenomenon is generally referred to as survival- or trading sex.
For some people, selling sexual services is a way of meeting new people and entering social groups that would otherwise have inaccessible to them. Thrill-seeking, curiosity and wanting to be unconventional are some of the motivating factors. Some persons also state that they sell sexual services as part of exploring their sexuality.
Sometimes prostitution appears to offer a way out of difficult circumstances. Getting hold of a considerable amount of money in a short time can give someone independence from a violent spouse, aggressive creditors or a poorly paid job, to mention a few examples.