THE FUTURE OF BOY PROSTITUTION BY DREW AND DRAKE, 1969
The following concludes the last chapter of Boys for Sale. A Sociological Study of Boy Prostitution by Dennis Drew & Jonathan Drake, New York, 1969. Though that chapter is otherwise about the United States only, it is clear from what is said here that the authors intended it as a prognosis of boy prostitution. In so far as it was about the imagined future rather than the present, its main interest is in elucidating the direction in which things seemed to be moving to informed observers in 1969, some of which was of course not at all the same as the way they actually turned out.
The Future of Boy Prostitution
Because of the illegality of the subject, it is difficult to undertake a thoroughly scientific study of boy prostitution. We have set out to report the facts as we have been able to discover them. They support a good number of conclusions — some general, some specific — all of them valid in some part of the world.
(1.) Like all forms of sexual behavior, prostitution is exceedingly difficult to regulate or prohibit by law. When prostitution is eliminated in one form or place, it crops up in another.
(2.) Just because prostitution of boys has always existed does not necessarily mean it will always exist. There are, indeed, signs that the elimination of poverty and the increase of education and supervision for all children will greatly reduce it. Also, as society becomes more tolerant, the aberration of prostitution will tend to disappear, while boy-love for affection’s sake will, of course, continue.
(3.) The strong dictatorships necessary to stamp out prostitution are destructive of many other values and cause great loss to personal freedom. Where men are free, there will always be certain “undesirable” forms of behavior.
(4.) The worst forms of organized exploitation of children — the French souteneur system and the Chinese boy brothels — have already disappeared. In the “century of the child”, boy prostitution, if not eliminated, has at least been greatly humanized. Today, it is largely an expression of the free will of the amateur who is tempted because of his poverty and/or desire for thrills.
(5.) Boys who become prostitutes are generally beautiful but poor. The less intelligent ones depend on their good looks and technique. Cleverer boys get what they want without having to resort to actual physical relations.
(6.) Not all boy prostitutes are poor. Some are runaways from rich upper class homes but, these are usually older boys. Poverty, however, is relative. A “poor boy” in New York would seem rich to a lad from Calcutta, yet he may still prostitute himself for many possessions that he wants and is unable to acquire in any other manner.
(7.) Seduction by older men plays a surprisingly insignificant part in the recruitment of boys for prostitution. Seduction by a slightly older boy, or rape by a group of boys the same age, or slightly older, is much more significant in determining what causes a boy to run away and/or become a prostitute.
(8.) Most boy prostitutes come from homes where they are neglected — from broken and cruel homes. The single most important characteristic that these boys have is that they are hungry for affection and attention from men.
(9.) Despite stringent laws, boys are sold by their parents or guardians in almost every clime and culture. The pattern shows that they are often first seduced by a close relative who then later delivers them into prostitution.
(10.) Most cases of boy prostitution are never uncovered by the police. Nearly every country has corrupt police who know of such activity and do nothing about it. We found more than one case in the Middle East and in Asia, where the police patronize boy prostitutes.
(11.) One reason why most boy prostitution remains hidden from the police is that boys enter it willingly much of the time. Despite some of the lurid tales reported in this volume, most boys at least enjoy the money if not the sex, and many enjoy the sex and attention even more than the money. Therefore, they conspire against the police so that they won’t be forced to give up a good thing. (A surprising number of boys even enjoy rather brutal sex — but this is a subject for further study.)
(12.) Persons who wish to oppose boy prostitution should give attention to two major causative factors. A high percentage of boy prostitutes come out of reformatories where they have been seduced and trained — reform of these institutions should be given priority. Poverty is the second major cause and an overall betterment of the financial condition of the lower classes would automatically eliminate a lot of prostitution.
(13.) Except in some rather depressing Asian situations, it is rare that a boy is “ruined” by his prostitution. Many grow up to marry, using their “hard-earned” savings for education or launching themselves into business. Some naturally fall into crime as pimps and recruiters, but these are the ones who are caught and jailed. Ironically, a prison record is a more serious handicap to later careers that having been a boy prostitute.
(14.) Although few grow rich on boy prostitution and many of the boys are cheated out of their money in one way or another, a few boys in the West have managed to save small fortunes from their earnings.
(15.) Since customs vary from culture to culture, it is difficult for us to generalize about types of sexual acts which are performed in prostitution. Younger boys are passive — older boys are more active. As a rule, however, the main difference between the amateur and the professional is that the amateur has reservations while the professional will do anything. The professional is also better trained and less likely to carry disease.
(16.) Amateurs have a more negative view of their work than the professional who may enthusiastically recommend the profession to a younger boy. The amateur is, at times, plagued with guilt feelings (especially if he finds that he enjoys his work too much) but the professional, never.