Almost seven in ten boys arrested for prostitution-related charges in 1995 were 16 to 17 years old, reflecting the findings of other data on male adolescent prostitutes.
“Chickens” and “Chicken Hawks”
Boy prostitutes are often referred to on the streets as chickens; the homosexual men in search of boy prostitutes are called chicken hawks or chicken queens. These men are also known in law enforcement and psychiatry as pedophiles and child molesters (see Chapter 14). Much of the male adolescent prostitution occurs in large cities with a significant gay population. Young boys can also be found prostituting themselves in the ever-expanding suburbs and rural areas. A typical example of a chicken-chicken hawk encounter was recently described by a Baltimore police detective in the sex offenses unit:
The boy will usually find a set of marble steps, sit, and observe passing cars. Eye contact is the key. The “chicken hawk” will stare at the boy he feels could be a “hustler.” If a period of eye contact is made between both, the “chicken hawk” will circle the block several times, making eye contact at each passing. Finally the “chicken hawk” will nod and, if the boy returns the nod, a deal is in the making. At times, the “chickens” would work as teams, usually two together. If the customer wanted two boys, he would use hand signals, indicating how many boys he wanted and how much he was paying.
The Men Who Sexually Exploit Boy Prostitutes
Although most pedophiles favor boy hustlers, many chicken hawks also seek out male prostitutes of any age. Some prefer chickens of a specific age or age range and “will not pick up any other boys who might be older or younger than he desires.” The following is a profile of the typical chicken hawk:
- Is often middle-aged
- Relates to children well, usually better than to adults
- Regards children as the sexual aggressor
- Is generally nonviolent
- Is often single but can be married
- Associates with other pedophiles and chicken hawks
- Often was sexually molested during childhood
- Pretends to be the boy prostitute’s friend
- Is often a white-collar worker or professional