Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Polish teens prostitute themselves for brand clothes

Twenty percent of teenage prostitutes in Poland sell their body in order to earn money for brand clothes, concert tickets or holiday, shows a report commissioned by Poland’s Children Ombudsman’s Office.

The shocking report reveals that the number of teenagers who become prostitutes is growing and the age of teen prostitutes is coming down. Girls usually enter the sex business at the age of fifteen to sixteen. Boys also go on the streets as early as fourteen or fifteen.

Twenty percent do it on their own free will. They choose to sell their bodies in order to earn money for brand clothes, fashionable gadgets or concert tickets. Material goods help them gain respect of their peers. “Young people feel they need to attend trendy clubs, wear brand clothes and have enough money for expensive alcohol and cigarettes in order to be accepted,” said Jacek Kurzepa, the co-author of the report.

Another reason why teenagers decide to enter sex business is the desire to earn money easily and quickly. It is a particularly tempting option for those who collect money for holidays, pets or tickets to all kinds of music and sports events, because it saves time. There is also a group of teenagers who prostitute themselves just for a thrill, to taste a forbidden fruit, says the report.

Prostitution is not perceived as bad or even shameful by many teenagers, the report shows. Young people, instead of calling prostitution by its name, use the term “sponsoring”, which softens its true meaning. For some, teenagers those who have a sponsor can even be role models.

It is becoming easier for teenagers to enter the sex trade nowadays than it was several years ago. Young people do not need to sell their bodies on the street. All they need is a computer with internet access, where they can find sex ads and place their own offers. Some of the teenagers are encouraged to prostitute themselves by their friends who already are in the business. “Twenty- or thirty-years-olds become prostitutes because they have to pay for studies or need money for their children. Teenagers sell their bodies in order to have fun,” said a sex agency owner.

Young people who choose prostitution as their source of income, a bonus to their pocket money, do not realize the real cost of it. In Poland there are not enough institutions or organizations which could help teenagers permanently free themselves from sex work, when they decide to, says the report. Even police are rather helpless when it comes to investigating consensual teenage sex cases since neither a client, nor a teen prostitute want their business to be revealed.