Personal Safety Concerns
- Clients may harm prostitutes.
- Clients or prostitutes may be defrauded, robbed, or assaulted.
- Pimps may financially and physically exploit prostitutes.
- Street prostitution and street drug markets are often linked.
- Prostitution may provide the seedbed for organized crime.
- Prostitutes create parking and traffic problems where they congregate.
- Prostitution attracts strangers and criminals to a neighborhood.
- Legitimate businesses may lose customers who avoid the area because of prostitution.
- Prostitutes' presence may negatively affect the area economy, reducing property values and limiting property use.
Civil Rights Concerns
- Prostitutes, as citizens, have rights that need to be protected.
Police Integrity Concerns
- Policing prostitution creates special opportunities for police officers to engage in unethical conduct, such as taking payments in exchange for nonenforcement, because prostitutes, pimps, and clients are in weak positions to complain about police misconduct. 
Factors Contributing to Street Prostitution
Understanding the factors that are known to contribute to your problem will help you frame your own local analysis questions, determine good effectiveness measures, recognize key intervention points, and select an appropriate set of responses for your particular problem. The literature on street prostitution provides a general picture of street prostitutes, clients, pimps, sexual transactions, areas where street prostitution thrives, and links between street prostitution and drugs.
Street prostitutes have lower status than indoor prostitutes. They are often in some state of personal decline (e.g., running away from abusive situations, becoming drug-dependent, deteriorating psychologically, and/or getting less physically attractive).  Most have social, economic, and health problems. Most first turn to prostitution at a young age, often before they are 18. 
Street prostitutes are not equally committed to prostitution: some are deeply committed for financial and lifestyle reasons; some are committed only due to drug dependency; and some are weakly committed, engaging in prostitution because it is the easiest way for them to make some money. Their inability to find adequately paying work elsewhere is the most common reason prostitutes give to explain their choice to work on the street.  Many prostitutes try to leave the streets, although they often return and then leave again. Most return to prostitution because their limited education and lack of skills make finding employment very difficult. Without a means to support themselves and their children, they may think staying on the streets is less risky than leaving prostitution. 
The typical street prostitute works six to eight hours a day, five to six days a week, and has three to five clients a night.  Street prostitutes' lives are organized principally around prostitution itself, and around maneuvering through the legal system. It is a cycle of engaging in prostitution, getting arrested, going to jail, paying fines, and returning to the street.
Some street prostitutes are highly mobile, traveling from one city to another, sometimes on a regular circuit, or when they think the risks are too high in one city or the money is better in another.
Although most sexual encounters do not involve violence, most street prostitutes report having been criminally assaulted at least once by clients.  A small percentage of clients are likely responsible for most of the violence committed against prostitutes. The pattern of violence in pimp-prostitute relationships is similar to that of domestic violence. Prostitutes do not report most assaults to the police because they either fear retaliation by pimps or believe the police will not take the matter seriously, or will charge them for soliciting.  Both prostitutes and those who assault them may believe prostitutes are not entitled to the criminal justice system's normal protections. 
Street Prostitutes' Clients
Prostitution clients, typically referred to as "johns" or "tricks," are attracted to the illicit nature of the encounter, desire sex acts that regular partners do not provide, view sex as merely a commodity, and/or lack interest in or access to conventional relationships.  Others are drawn to the fact that no commitment is required, and view these interactions as less risky than having an affair.  Clients' decision to solicit a prostitute is influenced by availability of prostitutes, knowledge of where to find them, access to money, perceived risk of getting caught or contracting disease, and ease of securing services. Clients gather such information in a variety of ways: from trial and error; from personal recommendations from others (including friends, bartenders, taxi drivers, and hotel workers); and, increasingly, from information posted on internet websites.
Somewhere around 10 to 20 percent of men admit they have paid for sex, but only about 1 percent pay for sex regularly.  While this is still a large number of potential clients, it is considerably lower than some earlier estimates based on flawed research methods. The characteristics of men arrested for soliciting vary considerably and do not form any clear patterns.  Many seek to rationalize their conduct to themselves and others. When stopped by police, clients often try to justify their behavior by telling a sob story of personal loss, or will admit to cruising but not soliciting, stating they were just curious.  Others resist the idea that prostitution is immoral.
Clients are more easily deterred than prostitutes.  They are more readily ashamed of their behavior, and fear harming their public reputation or their standing in their personal lives. Consequently, they fear being identified publicly more than being fined for their conduct.
It is unclear what percentage of street prostitutes have pimps; prostitutes are reluctant to talk to anyone about their pimps, and it is difficult for police to make cases against pimps. Pimps recruit and socialize prostitutes into the prostitution subculture by appealing to either their desire for money or their desire for what they believe will be a glamorous and exciting lifestyle. 
Pimps seldom procure clients for prostitutes, because clients do not typically want to associate with anyone other than the prostitute. Pimps do not offer prostitutes much protection against client violence, but do offer them protection against assault by other pimps.§ Although classic pimp relationships still exist in both the United States and the United Kingdom, many men with serious drug addictions force their girlfriends into prostitution to support their drug habits. 
Pimps use violence and drug dependency as means to control prostitutes. Many pimps resemble the batterers in domestic violence situations, and women under their control often react similarly to domestic violence victims.  They may express love and admiration for their pimps and may feel they deserve the violence. Pimps control both their freedom and their finances. By some estimates, pimps take 60 to 70 percent of prostitutes' earnings.
The prices for sex acts vary a little from community to community. Depending on how desperate the prostitutes are for money, they typically charge $20 to $50 for oral sex, and $50 to $100 for sexual intercourse. Among crack-addicted prostitutes, the price can be as low as the market price for a single rock of crack cocaine. The typical sexual transaction takes around 10 minutes in a vehicle (usually for oral sex), and around 25 minutes indoors.
Areas Where Street Prostitution Exists
Street prostitution markets go through stages of development—they emerge, expand, stabilize, and disappear.  Sometimes they emerge by accident, when a few prostitutes happen upon a new location; sometimes they emerge because of changes in an area's traffic or commercial patterns (e.g., new roadways or new businesses such as adult entertainment establishments); and sometimes they emerge because police enforcement displaced them. It is important that an area be known for street prostitution so clients will know where to look.
Street prostitution is more prevalent in run-down neighborhoods. Those that are populated heavily by unattached males are more vulnerable to street prostitution than those with a lot of women, families, or elderly residents, because the likelihood of vocal community opposition is lower. For street prostitution to thrive, the surrounding neighborhood cannot be too crime-ridden or appear too threatening to potential clients. Consequently, it is often found in areas that are marginal or in transition, rather than in thoroughly blighted areas. However, the emergence of street prostitution will almost certainly speed up decline. Neighborhood redevelopment or gentrification frequently prompts strong community opposition to street prostitution, and clearly drives much of the pressure on the police to control it.
Street prostitution areas are typically small, less than a square mile. Larger cities usually have several such areas. They are typically industrial sites; declining residential areas; those near major thoroughfares, including tunnels, bridges, or airport access roads; or those near transportation hubs, such as train and bus stations. Street prostitution flourishes around convention centers and hotels, especially when mostly male conventions are held.
Street prostitution thrives in areas where it does not conflict with legitimate business, but rather, supports and is supported by that business. The following foster street prostitution:
- Places where sexual transactions can occur, such as cheap motels and hotels, dimly lit parking lots, alleys, and abandoned buildings
[caption caption="Street prostitution often thrives in areas where there are cheap motels and hotels. Credit: Bob Heimberger" align="center"]