Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pretty Woman (2006) by Karen Schwarze, Marianne Berger, Edith Geurts

This book, written in Dutch, gives practical information about how teen prostitution and how one can help. It is based on the experience of the Pretty Women Foundation.The book is specifically designed for those who work with teenagers. The first half of the book focuses on the problem of teenage prostitution and how Pretty Women gives presentations to on this topic, and specifically to teenagers. The second half of the book specifies how Pretty Women reaches out to teenage girls through individual contact and group settings.

For those working directly with teenagers, it is a helpful resource. For those, like me, who are somewhat more removed from the target group, it is less helpful. Yet, two overviews are worth reporting here - not because they are so much new or unique to this book, but because they have been presented here in a clear and accessible manner - and these two overviews are: the means in which teenage girls are often led into prostitution and the risk factors for entering prostitution.

The means in which teenage girls are often led into prostitution by a pimp/loverboy (pages 13-14)
- led away and isolated from family and friends (and thus dependent, especially emotionally, on the one pushing them into prostitution)
- physical violence
- psychological pressure - e.g., pressure on her to repay the gifts/attention to her, threats against family, threatening to disclose to family and/or culture group how she has harmed the honour of her family.
- false promises - especially that of a good future together
- addiction to drugs

Risk factors in teenage girls (pages 18-20) - both for going into prostitution or already being involved in it:
- dysfunctional family background, notably the absence of one or both parents and, more so, a lack of supervision.
- problems at school - this can be both a cause or a result of prostitution
- drug or alcohol problems - this can lead to prostitution but also can be a means of surviving prostitution
- psychological problems,
- traumatic youth, especially sexual abuse. This leads to unhealthy perspectives on both sex and relationships.
- problems with relationship (e.g., dating older men, highly influenced by other's opinions, and/or social isolation),
- runaways (both as cause or result of prostitution)
- time spent in the foster care system - here teenagers who are less socially competent are exposed to those who are already involved with prostitution,
- strong sexual morals of family - if a girl breaks these, she is more likely to be cut off from her family/culture and potential help.

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