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When a Friend or Family Member is Prostituting for Drugs

Even though people have been engaging in prostitution since the time of the ancient Greeks, it’s still an act that’s attached to a significant amount of shame and moral outrage.

Drug addiction is often smacked with the same stigma. It can be hard to even think about someone you care about dealing with both issues, at the same time. You might even feel a little disgusted by the behavior. Reaching out to that person with love and care, rather than judgment and condemnation, may be difficult, but it might be the best thing you could do to help the person you love.

The Link to Drug Use

In the past, researchers thought that people who became prostitutes did so because they had developed addictions to drugs and needed a method by which to make money in order to buy drugs. It’s a tidy little theory, but it might not fully explain why people choose either drugs or prostitution. Instead, it might be more apt to think of prostitution and drug addictions as symptoms of the same type of mental illness.

In a study in the Journal of Family Illness, researchers found that enduring sexual abuse at an early age increased the risk of prostitution, regardless of other factors, including drug abuse. These survivors bury their trauma, and their reduced feelings of self-worth might make them more likely to become prostitutes. This same sort of trauma can also lead people into a life of drug use and addiction. The addictive drugs they take seem to allow them to forget about the pain and suffering they endured, and this can cause them to become mired in an endless trap of drug use, sobriety and a return to drug use.

Risks of Prostitution

When you think of the risks the person you love might face due to this sex work, you might immediately think of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis. While the risk of infection is certainly high in people who engage in unprotected sex, people who work as prostitutes can face other problems that might be even more dire. For example, a study in the journal Women & Health found that 82 percent of adults working as prostitutes had been physically assaulted during the course of the work. People who work as prostitutes might be attacked by:

  • Their customers
  • Their pimps
  • Their fellow prostitutes
  • Corrupt law enforcement agents

It’s hard to imagine how devastating these attacks might be, especially for people who have been attacked in a similar manner earlier in life. It might seem as though the cycle of violence might never end. Additionally, people who are attacked might not feel willing to report it to law enforcement agents, for fear of being arrested.

Things You Can Do

The study in the journal Women & Health also found that 88 percent of prostitutes studied wanted to leave the work behind, and most could describe what they needed in order to do just that. This is a list of what these people asked for. Perhaps you could address some of these needs for the person in your life:

  • A safe place to live
  • Job training
  • Health care
  • Support
  • Self-defense training
  • Childcare
  • Legal assistance

The person you love might also desperately need addiction counseling. Please contact us, and let us help you find the best luxury residential addiction treatment program to provide that assistance.