Child prostitution is a regular occurrence in 8.9 percent of schools, while isolated incidents have happened in a further 5.5 percent, according to the poll by student website Skuola.net.
Three thousand people responded to the online survey, released on Tuesday, which came after reports surfaced in the Italian press of schoolgirls selling themselves for sex.
Nearly 40 percent of students said sex was never sold at their school, while 46.5 percent said they didn’t know whether it was happening or not.
Of those who were aware of the child prostitution, a quarter admitted having numerous sexual encounters with the girls, while five percent admitted to having just one encounter. A further 8.6 percent said that although they hadn’t gone to the prostitutes, they would like to.
The results follow the arrest of a woman in Rome, accused of profiting from her 14-year-old daughter’s sex work. The teenager and her friend reportedly turned to prostitution after being lured by the promise of earning €300 per customer.