In 2014, the European Commission offered for the Member States of the European Union to increase their “national wealth” by including the turnover from prostitution in the calculation of their GDP. In France, INSEE refused to implement the European request and explained, rightly so, that prostitution was not so much a “provision of freely consented services” as an exploitation of people in the most precarious of situations.
ProstCost, a previously unpublished study carried out by the Mouvement du Nid – France and Psytel, questions this myth of prostitution as a vector of growth and provides an estimate of the twofold economic and social burden which the prostitutional system imposes on its victims and on society as a whole.
After 18 months of research, both entities are pleased to present the results in this summary. Our calculation of the economic and social cost of prostitution in France is based on two estimates:
• An estimate of the number of prostitutes in France
Recent studies and parliamentary reports have all highlighted the difficulty in estimating the number of prostitutes in France. Our research has enabled us to put forward a documented estimate of 37,000 prostitutes, with a low hypothesis of 30,000 and a high hypothesis of 44,000 prostitutes.
• The identification of 29 « cost items » and an estimate of their value, the total figure equalling 1.6 billion Euro
TAKING STOCK OF THE COST BORNE BY THE VICTIMS AND INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT
Our study reveals the significant human cost (in addition to the cost of direct and indirect social and medical consequences) borne by the victims of the prostitutional system. Prostitutes are at least 6 times more exposed to rape than the general population and 7 times more likely to commit suicide The human cost borne by prostitutes is estimated at 252 to 370 million Euro per year. In comparison, the total social expenditures which prostitutes benefit from is estimated at 50 to 65 million Euro per year (including housing, benefits and prevention and support actions) and the total public funds allocated to charitable organisations specifically for the prevention and support of prostitutes amounts to a mere 2.4 million Euro, i.e. 65 Euro per year and per prostitute.
INTEGRATING AN ECONOMIC APPROACH INTO THE FIGHT AGAINST PROCURING
It makes sense to integrate an additional economic approach into the fight against procuring and the prostitutional system in so far as this form of violence and exploitation has the distinctive feature of being motivated by profit. We estimate the turnover of prostitution in France at 3.2 billion Euro, while the annual budget of all police and gendarmerie services working on dismantling rings and sentencing pimps equals 12 million Euro.
ADDRESSING THE “DEMAND” AT THE ROOT OF EXPLOITATION AND SOCIAL COST
The “clients” of prostitution are the backers and the first to benefit from prostitution. It is to satisfy their demand and to collect their money that national and international pimps organise human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution. This exploitation of prostitutes leads to frequent and significant violence, which has a high social cost.
If the “clients” of prostitution spent their money on any other activity, French society would save several hundred million Euro per year in expenditures linked to the consequences of prostitution, while increasing its tax revenues by at least 853 million Euro.
INVESTING TODAY INSTEAD OF SUFFERING ENDLESSLY
The prostitutional system imposes a twofold burden on its victims as well as on society, which this study estimated at 1.6 billion Euro per year. It therefore makes economic sense, as well as being an ethical necessity, to invest today in prevention, in the development of an exit policy to end prostitution, in the punishing of procuring and the discouraging of demand, rather than to keep on suffering this economic and social cost.
Download all our data and spreadsheets for each item on:
Password : mdnpsp
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