One of the clearest markers for “this story in the press about sex work or sex workers is lazy bullshit” is that oft-cited statistic about 13 being the average age of entry into sex work. A statistic that never comes with a citation, it’s just one of those things that every lazy journalist “knows”, and everybody else with a brain who thinks about it for more than ninety seconds knows cannot possibly be true.

Think about it. If 13 were the average age, there would have to be a whole lot of younger, even prepubescent child sex workers out there. They would be turning up on the nightly news in droves every time the police announce another “rescue” sweep of sex worker arrests. And yet, strangely, on the rare occasions that police do “rescue” (arrest) an underage sex worker, it’s always an older teen nearing adulthood. If the “13 is the average age of entry” statistic were true, that would not be the case.

Don’t take my word for it. After we all suffered for years from the idiocy of that endlessly-repeated bogus statistic, Chris Hall (the Literate Perversions guy) has written a detailed take-down in The Atlantic. I hope every journalist who continues to lazily parrot the bogus statistic in future gets jammed with a thousand instances of this link via FaceBook, Twitter, email, and every social media channel they use.

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