Prostitution is illegal throughout the United States, except for the state of Nevada, but this does not stop sex workers from capitalizing on the rising demand.
With this guide, find out how much prostitutes earn and how many clients they entertain.
On average, a prostitute takes home $33,000 a year. Others earn more, around $61,000 if they put on more hours seeing clients. Income from sex work depends on the person’s rates per hour, rates per service, and tips. The normal working hours per week are 10 hours or fewer.
Currently, there are over 42 million prostitutes around the world, 80% of which are female sex workers aged between 13 to 25 years old.
In the United States, it is estimated that there are over 2 million prostitutes who entered the trade either willingly due to financial hardships or forcibly due to human trafficking.
All in all, over $180 billion is spent yearly on the global sex trade.
Not every prostitute has the same income. Their earnings are based on the type of services they offer and whether they work independently or with a sex work organization.
Escort agencies receive a cut of the payment when hiring prostitutes for clients. Working with these organizations is safer and more consistent, so most sex workers prefer them.
Meanwhile, independent prostitutes do not have to pay agencies a portion of the money they earn. However, they need to find clients on their own.
In most cases, these sex workers are vulnerable to abuse as they have no recourse against clients who do not pay.
Geography also plays a critical role in how much a prostitute can earn.
Those that work in large urban centers are likely to earn more than those operating in rural towns with fewer customers.
The number of customers per day can vary depending on the demand, but on a typical week, a prostitute can entertain one to five clients. Others can take as much as 16 to 20 weekly.
Various things may affect the number of customers, including the time of the year and the weather. For instance, prostitutes typically have fewer clients during the summer holidays and the days after Christmas.
Likewise, there tend to be fewer customers when the snow is heavy or the heat is extreme. In contrast, light snow and moderate heat bring in more clients than usual.
During the pandemic, sex workers had even fewer customers due to the lockdown and the general fear of acquiring the virus. Most capitalized on the increasing demand for online sex work.
Many prostitutes posted content at specialized hosting sites, or become phone sex workers.
Those with regular clients have the advantage of having a steady income, while others depend on random appointments.
In general, prostitutes regulate the number of potential clients themselves as they can turn down requests anytime they want.
In the United States, all income has to be declared, regardless of the source. Even prostitutes pay taxes once they declare their income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The IRS will not question where your revenues are coming from. The fact that you earned money from sex work is irrelevant. When you declare your income, you will pay the correct tax for your bracket.
Prostitutes are considered self-employed, so they are likely to fall under single proprietorship filing status or report as a small business.
Just like with others, taxes are applied to a prostitute’s net income once deductions have been made. Deductions can be any expenses incurred during the course of the work, including payment for renting rooms or escort services.
For gross receipts, they will need to present proof of payment from the client who used their services.
Meanwhile, income tax and Medicare (FICA) will be paid based on profit.
The prostitutes have different lifestyles and reasons for working. Money and sexual curiosity are two of the main motives for choosing their vocation.
With unfortunate individuals who lack the means to support themselves and their families, sex work appears to be the best course of action to earn money. They work for money to afford food, housing, and care for their children.
Others also do sex work for their vices, like drugs.
Sex work typically pays better than most of the options available to individuals beset by a lack of proper education, unemployment, and poverty.
The earnings are higher than other forms of unskilled labor. Moreover, sex work is less time-consuming and flexible compared to other service works.
For some, sexual motivation is the deciding factor. They perceive the job to satisfy their curiosity and to experiment without restraints.
Finally, some are forced into sex work. These are the victims of human trafficking who become sex slaves to pay their debts.
Prostitution has different classifications depending on the worksite, mode of soliciting, and practice. The most common are those that work in the streets, in brothels, and in escort agencies.
Streetwalkers are widespread, not only in the United States but around the world. They solicit clients in public places, like streets or parks.
Meanwhile, those that work in brothels only service clients on premises explicitly dedicated to sex work. This type of work offers better security, as brothels are often licensed by authorities.
Escorts are typically handled by agencies that screen the requests of customers. This is the most covert form of sex work and also pays better due to low client turnover.
Payment for services depends on how far the client wants to go. Sex workers also dictate the practices they are willing to perform.
There are also indirect forms of prostitution, like role plays of sexual fantasy and erotic dancing which typically happen in clubs and hotels.
In Southeast Asia, some massage parlors may offer a range of sexual services on top of the usual services they provide.