Drugs, Prostitution, and Organized Crime
Prostitution, like the illegal drug trade, is big business for organized crime. Crime syndicates receive a percentage of profits from smaller operators in both prostitution and drug dealing. This organized crime system emerged in its complete, modern form as a result of the prohibition against alcohol in the 1920s. Mobsters honed their craft by importing bootleg liquor into the country and soon branched out into many other enterprises. Once prohibition was repealed organized crime needed new enterprises to finance its continued existence and turned to activities like prostitution, drugs, and gambling.
Addiction as a Risk Factor for Prostitution
At the street level pimps often use drugs to exert control over prostitutes. Many pimps are also drug dealers and may initially attract and lure girls with free drugs and an apparent “high roller” lifestyle. Often the girls are simply invited to the party. The pimp has every intention of getting the girls addicted to drugs and targets girls who are at increased risk for addiction. This includes girls with financial or emotional problems, runaways and girls from dysfunctional families, and girls who are already addicted to drugs. Once a girl is addicted, she is likely to show up looking for drugs and will be willing to do whatever it takes to get them.
At this point, the pimp will inform the girl that he can’t keep financing a free ride, and the time has come for her to start pulling her weight. In her addicted state, she is experiencing overwhelming cravings for the drug and will do what she has to do to satisfy them. She has impaired judgment and is susceptible to control by a domineering personality. Drug addiction helps pimps keep prostitutes virtually enslaved.
It is a sad fact that many girls and young women and some boys and young men become involved in prostitution as an indirect result of addiction. Some people turn to prostitution as a means to finance their addiction. Some turn to prostitution after addiction has ruined their lives and left them no apparent alternative. Some turn to prostitution after fleeing dysfunctional homes and abusive, drug-addicted, or alcoholic parents.
Addiction may be a factor in causing some people to patronize prostitutes. Addiction can impair judgment, cause serious problems in a person’s personal life, and enable a person to become accustomed to engaging in illegal behavior, all of which can contribute to a proclivity to visit prostitutes.
Questions about Prostitution and Drug or Alcohol Addiction?
If you or a loved one is struggling to escape prostitution and addiction, call our toll-free helpline. All calls are confidential and involved no obligation, and we are here 24 hours a day.