chapter  7
22 Pages

Prostitution: the Gendered Crime

ByJody Raphael, Mary C. Ellison

Prostitution is the ultimate gendered crime. Although there are boys and men who sell sex, demand for girls’ and women’s bodies fuels the very lucrative world-wide sex trade industry. Until recently, the criminal justice system has pursued a gendered approach to prostitution, with no or few penalties for male buyers as compared to harsh sanctions for female sellers. In fact, in 1962 the American Law Institute enshrined this unequal treatment in its influential Model Penal Code, which specified a misdemeanor penalty with jail time for women in prostitution, but only a minor infraction with a fine for the customer. The Institute justified the unequal treatment on the fact that the women receive money from the activity, making their crime more serious, deserving of harsher penalties (Lefler, 1999).