Libby Adler

Document Type



Youth prostitution is more multidimensional than one might guess from its most typical depictions. This essay is designed to raise the profile of some of its less prominent aspects - aspects which are not unknown exactly, but which are under-recognized and generally ignored in the context of legal analysis. Many of the most challenging dimensions of youth prostitution are eclipsed by an ideology which fails to grapple with the complexity of youth agency and the consequent position of youth in law. The result is that some kids are left inadequately served and others are utterly unknowable. My principal aim in this essay is to illuminate some gaps in the prevailing conception of youth prostitution and bring some different tools to bear on youth prostitution as a legal problem. The essay will view the matter from an angle not of criminal law in which offenders must be identified but of private law in which economic choices are made against identifiable background conditions.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Prostitutes, Child prostitution, Teenage prostitution, youth prostitution, law, Sexuality and the Law

Original Citation

Originally published in Maine Law Review, Vol. 55, No. 1, pp. 191-209, 2002.