Search the Site

Prostitute Pay in India

Photo: Jon Hurd

We’ve written about prostitution more than a few times on this blog, and in SuperFreakonomics, we devoted an entire chapter to the economics of prostitution. Now comes an interesting bit of new academic research from India that draws similar conclusions: once you put aside your moral views, it’s not hard to see that entry into the profession is driven by salary and career options.
The research was conducted by two economists at Pune University, Rohini Sahni and V. Kalyan Shankar, who surveyed 3,000 female sex workers and 1,355 male and transgender workers. According to the Times of India, this is the first pan-India study of the trade. 50 percent of women surveyed in the study said that prostitution is essentially a second career, one they often came to after working in physically demanding fields such as agriculture. In such cases, prostitution paid roughly five times better. Seventy percent of all sex workers reported that becoming a prostitute was their own decision. (On the flip side: 30 percent presumably said it wasn’t.) Furthermore, those with prior work experience also tended to be poorer and less educated than those who entered prostitution directly.