[Marxism] The pot calling the kettle black - a quick inquiry into paid sex in Cuba and the USA

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Fri Jul 16 19:18:57 MDT 2004

The incidence of prostitution is difficult to estimate and measure
(parttime/fulltime, professional/informal, episodic/regular and so on).

In pre-revolutionary Cuba, prostitution is acknowledged to have been
rampant, several sources claim there were occupationally some 100,000
prostitutes out of a total population of 6.9 million (about 1.4% of the
total population). After the Cuban revolution the 1950s, the trade reduced
to a low level for the next three decades.

>From the 1980s onwards, however, with a growing emphasis on tourism as a
source of foreign exchange, there was reported to have been an upswing in
prostitution, leading to crackdowns on the trade in the late 1990s. It is
claimed by some that prostitution there is now back at the
"pre-revolutionary level", which could be interpreted either as saying there
are again 100,000 prostitutes (about 0.9% of the population) or that about
1.4% of the 11.3 million current inhabitants are occupationally prostitutes
(which would mean about 160,000 prostitutes). Probably the majority of
customers would be foreign tourists paying in hard currency.

By comparison, the North American Task Force on Prostitution has suggested
that over one million people in the US have worked occupationally as
prostitutes in the United States (about 0.3% of the total population). In
1997, UNICEF also estimated in its The State of the World's Children report
that more than 100,000 US children were involved in prostitution activity in
the United States, but other estimates suggest a much higher number, from
250,000 to 600,000 (e.g. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children;
see also R.J. Estes and Neil A. Weiner. The Commercial Sexual Exploitation
of Children In the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, 2001).

At a guess, the incidence of professional prostitution is likely to be
somewhat higher in Cuba than in the United States, but the absolute number
of prostitutes is probably at least a dozen times higher in the USA. The
number of reported rapes in the US is among the highest in the world - in
the mid-1990s it was about 32 per 100,000 and is now supposed to exceed 40
per 100,000. Some Californian researchers estimate that 70% of US
prostitutes experience rape each year. Also, anywhere between 50,000 and
500,000 women and children are illegally trafficked into the USA and Canada
every year (low estimate by the State Department, high estimate by the
ODCCP; there are an estimated 7-8 million people living illegally in the
USA -  see www.unafei.or.jp/pdf/no62/USA(1).pdf). For more reports on US
prostitution, see e.g. http://www.uri.edu/artsci/wms/hughes/usa.htm and

It is not unreasonable to suppose that, worldwide, the number of people
working as prostitutes nowadays is equal to the total population of Spain.


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