From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Prostitution is the act or practice of engaging in sex acts for hire. In most cultures, prostitution is viewed as a deviant profession, either discouraged or illegal, however motivations vary from the implications of those potentially exposed to that activity to whether it constitutes or not an exploitative practice. The word "prostitution" can also be used metaphorically to mean debasement or working towards an unworthy cause.
Etymology and Terminology
‘To prostitute’ is derived from a composition of two Latin words: (preposition) pro and (verb) statuere. A literal translation therefore would be: ‘to expose’, ‘to place up front’.
A variety of terms are used for those who engage in prostitution, some of which distinguish between different kinds, or imply a value judgment about them. Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore, although not all professional escorts are prostitutes.
The English word whore derives from the Old English word hōra, from the Indo-European root kā meaning "desire". Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho'. In Germany most prostitutes' organizations deliberately use the word Hure (whore) since they feel that prostitute is a bureaucratic term. Those seeking to remove the social stigma associated with prostitution often promote terminology such as sex worker, commercial sex worker (CSW), "tantric engineer" (coined by author Robert Anton Wilson), or sex trade worker. A hooker or streetwalker solicits customers in public places; a call girl makes appointments by phone.
Correctly or not, prostitute without specifying a gender is commonly assumed to be female; compound terms such as Male prostitution or male escort are therefore used to identify males. Those offering services to female customers are commonly known as gigolos; those offering services to male customers are hustlers or rent boys.
The customers of prostitutes are known as johns or tricks in North America and punters in the British Isles. These slang terms are used among both prostitutes and law enforcement for persons who solicit prostitutes . The term john may have originated from the customer practice of giving their name as "John", a common name in English-speaking countries, in an effort to maintain anonymity. In some places, men who drive around red-light districts for the purpose of soliciting prostitutes are also known as kerb crawlers.
Ancient Near East
As early as the 18th century B.C., the ancient society of Mesopotamia recognized the need to protect women's property rights. In the Code of Hammurabi, provisions were found that addressed inheritance rights of women, including female prostitutes. For example, if a dowry was established by the father for his unwedded daughter, upon his death, her brothers (if she had any) would act on her behalf as her trustee. However, if the woman received the property as a gift from her father, she owned the property outright and could leave the property to whomever she pleased.
In ancient Greek society, prostitution was engaged in by both women and boys. The Greek word for prostitute is porne (Gr: πόρνη), derived from the verb pernemi (to sell), with the evident modern evolution. The English word pornography, and its corollaries in other languages, are directly derivative of the Greek word porne (Gr: πόρνη). Female prostitutes could be independent and sometimes influential women. They were required to wear distinctive dresses and had to pay taxes. Some similarities have been found between the Greek hetaera and the Japanese oiran, complex figures that are perhaps in an intermediate position between prostitution and courtisanerie. (See also the Indian tawaif.) Some prostitutes in ancient Greece, such as Lais were as famous for their company as their beauty, and some of these women charged extraordinary sums for their services.
In ancient Rome, there were some commonalities with the Greek system; but as the Empire grew, prostitutes were often foreign slaves, captured, purchased, or raised for that purpose, sometimes by large-scale "prostitute farmers" who took abandoned children. Indeed, abandoned children were almost always raised as prostitutes. Enslavement into prostitution was sometimes used as a legal punishment against criminal free women. Buyers were allowed to inspect naked men and women for sale in private and there was no stigma attached to the purchase of males by a male aristocrat.
During the Middle Ages, prostitution was commonly found in urban contexts. Although all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage were regarded as sinful by the Roman Catholic Church, prostitution was tolerated because it was held to prevent the greater evils of rape, sodomy, and masturbation (McCall, 1979). Augustine of Hippo held that: "If you expel prostitution from society, you will unsettle everything on account of lusts". The general tolerance of prostitution was for the most part reluctant, and many canonists urged prostitutes to reform.
After the decline of organised prostitution of the Roman empire, many prostitutes were slaves. However, religious campaigns against slavery, and the growing marketisation of the economy, turned prostitution back into a business. By the High Middle Ages it is common to find town governments ruling that prostitutes were not to ply their trade within the town walls, but they were tolerated outside if only because these areas were beyond the jurisdiction of the authorities. In many areas of France and Germany town governments came to set aside certain streets as areas where prostitution could be tolerated. In London the brothels of Southwark were owned by the Bishop of Winchester. (MCCall) Still later it became common in the major towns and cities of Southern Europe to establish civic brothels, whilst outlawing any prostitution taking place outside these brothels. In much of Northern Europe a more laissez faire attitude tended to be found. Prostitutes also found a fruitful market in the Crusades.
By the end of the fifteenth century attitudes seemed to have begun to harden against prostitution. An outbreak of syphilis in Naples 1494 which later swept across Europe, and which may have originated from the Columbian Exchange, and the prevalence of other sexually transmitted diseases from the earlier sixteenth century may have been causes of this change in attitude. With the advent of the Protestant Reformation, numbers of Southern German towns closed their brothels in an attempt to eradicate prostitution. In some periods prostitutes had to distinguish themselves by particular signs, sometimes wearing very short hair or no hair at all, or wearing veils in societies where other women did not wear them. Ancient codes regulated in this case the crime of a prostitute that dissimulated her profession. In some cultures, prostitutes were the sole women allowed to sing in public or act in theatrical performances.
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In the 19th century, legalized prostitution became a public controversy as France and then the United Kingdom passed the Contagious Diseases Acts, legislation mandating pelvic examinations for suspected prostitutes. This legislation applied not only to the United Kingdom and France, but also to their overseas colonies. In 1839, in London, a city of two million inhabitants, there were estimated to be up to 80,000 prostitutes. Many[who?] early feminists fought for repeal of these laws, either on the grounds that prostitution should be illegal and therefore not government regulated or because it forced degrading medical examinations upon women. A similar situation did in fact exist in the Russian Empire; prostitutes operating out of government-sanctioned brothels were given yellow internal passports signifying their status and were subjected to weekly physical exams. Leo Tolstoy's novel Resurrection describes legal prostitution in 19th-century Russia.
Originally, prostitution was widely legal in the United States. Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between 1910 and 1915 largely due to the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union which was influential in the banning of drug use and was a major force in the prohibition of alcohol. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson wanted all prostitution ended near any military and naval base as America prepared to enter World War I.
In 1956, the United Kingdom introduced the Sexual Offences Act 1956, which would partly be repealed, and altered, by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. While this law did not criminalise the act of prostitution itself, it did prohibit such activities as running a brothel, and soliciting.
Beginning in the late 1980s, many states in the US increased the penalties for prostitution in cases where the prostitute is knowingly HIV-positive. These laws, often known as felony prostitution laws, require anyone arrested for prostitution to be tested for HIV, and if the test comes back positive, the suspect is then informed that any future arrest for prostitution will be a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Penalties for felony prostitution vary in the states that have such laws, with maximum sentences of typically 10 to 15 years in prison. An episode of COPS which aired in the early 1990s detailed the impact of HIV/AIDS among prostitutes; this episode is deemed as part of HIV/AIDS awareness.
Sex tourism has emerged in the late 20th century as a controversial aspect ofWestern tourism and globalization. Sex tourism is typically undertaken internationally by tourists from wealthier countries.
Legal and socio-economic status
In countries where prostitution is legal, advertising it may be legal (as in the Netherlands) or illegal (as in Germany). Covert advertising for prostitution can take a number of forms:
- by cards in newsagents' windows
- by cards placed in public telephone enclosures: so-called tart cards
- by euphemistic advertisements in regular magazines and newspapers (for instance, talking of "massages" or "relaxation")
- in specialist contact magazines
- via the internet
- in public bathroom stalls (i.e. "for a good time call...")
In Las Vegas prostitution is often promoted overtly on The Las Vegas Strip by third party workers distributing risque flyers with the pictures and phone numbers of "escorts" (despite the fact that prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas and Clark County, see Prostitution in Nevada).
Relation to crime
One of the most serious problems associated with prostitution is the fact that the sex trade is surrounded by illegal, abusive and dangerous activities. One view insists that such situations occur because prostitution is kept illegal and the industry operates on the black market. Another, however, believes that legalizing and regulating prostitution does not improve the situation, but instead makes it worse.
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Human trafficking and sexual slavery
Establishments engaged in sexual slavery are the highest priority targets of law enforcement actions against prostitution. It has been suggested that human trafficking is the fastest growing form of contemporary slavery and is the third largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world.[clarification needed]
“Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors,” reports the US Department of State in a 2008 study. Due to the illegal and underground nature of sex trafficking, the exact extent of women and children forced into prostitution is unknown.
Children are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are sold by their own families. According to the International Labour Organization, the problem is especially alarming in Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and India.
Poverty, social exclusion and war are at the heart of human trafficking. Some women[who?] are hoodwinked into believing promises of a better life, sometimes by people who are known and trusted to them. Traffickers may own legitimate travel agencies, modeling agencies and employment offices in order to gain women's trust. Others are simply kidnapped. Once overseas it is common for their passport to be confiscated by the trafficker and to be warned of the consequences should they attempt to escape, including beatings, rape, threats of violence against their family and death threats. It is common, particularly in Eastern Europe, that should they manage to return to their families they will only be trafficked once again.
Globally, forced labour generates $31bn, half of it in the industrialised world, a tenth in transition countries, the International Labour Organization says in a report on forced labour ("A global alliance against forced labour", ILO, 11 May 2005) . Trafficking in people has been facilitated by porous borders and advanced communication technologies, it has become increasingly transnational in scope and highly lucrative within its barbarity.
In some countries[which?] counseling, accommodation, specialist care exists for trafficked people to help them escape, whilst in other countries[which?], this support is lacking and individuals are often treated as illegal immigrants and deported.
The most common destinations for victims of human trafficking are Thailand, Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the US, according to a report by the UNODC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime).
Use of children
Regarding the prostitution of children the laws on prostitution as well as those on sex with a child apply. If prostitution in general is legal there is usually a minimum age requirement for legal prostitution that is higher than the general age of consent (see above for some examples). Although some countries do not single out patronage of child prostitution as a separate crime, the same act is punishable as sex with an underage person.
In India, the federal police say that around 1.2 million children are believed to be involved in prostitution . A CBI statement said that studies and surveys sponsored by the ministry of women and child development estimated that about 40% of all India's prostitutes are children.
Some adults travel to other countries to have access to sex with children, which is unavailable in their home country. Cambodia has become a notorious destination for sex with children. Thailand is also a destination for child sex tourism. Several western countries have recently enacted laws with extraterritorial reach, punishing citizens who engage in sex with minors in other countries. As the crime usually goes undiscovered, these laws are rarely enforced.
In illegal immigration
A difficulty facing migrant prostitutes in many developed countries is the illegal residence status of some of these women. They face potential deportation, and so do not have recourse to the law. Hence there are brothels that may not adhere to the usual legal standards intended to safeguard public health and the safety of the workers.
Relation to drugs
Some drug users, most commonly heroin or crack cocaine users, obtain their drugs primarily through prostitution. Some receive money for the sex, which is then used to pay for drugs. Others, sometimes called strawberries, receive the drug directly in trade for sex. These drug-addicted prostitutes most commonly take part in street prostitution, as they typically lack the resources to work independently from a private residence or be escort prostitutes, and many brothels do not want to employ visible drug users.
The stereotype of a drug addict who uses prostitution to finance his/her habit, particularly for prostitutes who are crack cocaine users (often called "crack whores") is of someone whose health and perhaps intellect have been damaged by drug abuse, and who will accept any client for very little payment. They are often assumed to have frequent unsafe sex without birth control.
It is notable that in affluent countries such as the United States and Western Europe the correlation between street prostitution and illegal drug use is high. In contrast, many prostitutes in the developing world are primarily motivated by the need for subsistence earnings for themselves or dependents. However, drugs and prostitution are increasingly becoming connected in urban areas in the developing world, for example in urban areas in Karachi and Thailand.
Not all prostitutes who use recreational drugs are driven to prostitution by their habit, but the two subcultures are still closely linked.
Violence against prostitutes
|It has been suggested that Violence against prostitutes be merged into this article or section. (Discuss)|
For example, the homicide rate for female prostitutes was estimated to be 204 per 100,000 (Potterat et al., 2004), which is considerably higher than that for the next riskiest occupations in the United States during a similar period (4 per 100,000 for female liquor store workers and 29 per 100,000 for male taxicab drivers) (Castillo et al., 1994). However, there are substantial differences in rates of victimization between street prostitutes and indoor prostitutes who work as escorts, call girls, or in brothels and massage parlors (Weitzer 2000, 2005). While women who work on the streets are the most likely to be victimized, attacks and even murders of prostitutes have also occurred in legal and licensed brothels (such as in the German brothel Pascha).
Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution, often confined to special red-light districts in big cities. Other names for brothels include bordello, whorehouse, cathouse, knocking shop, and general houses. Prostitution also occurs in some massage parlours, and in Asian countries in some barber shops where sexual services may be offered as a secondary function of the premises.
In escort prostitution, the act takes place at the customer's place of residence or more commonly at his or her hotel room (referred to as out-call), or at the escort's place of residence or in a hotel room rented for the occasion by the escort (called in-call). This form of prostitution often shelters under the umbrella of escort agencies, who ostensibly supply attractive escorts for social occasions. While escort agencies claim never to provide sexual services, very few successful escorts are available exclusively for social companionship. Even where this type of prostitution is legal, the ambiguous term escort service is commonly used. (See call girl). In the US, escort agencies advertise frequently on the internet and example advertisements can be readily found on any major search engine and on open forum sites, which also often provide "reviews" of escorts, discuss and debate issues surrounding what is referred to on the internet as "the hobby", give warnings to both escorts and potential clients of possible scams and law enforcement entrapments, and allow a place for independent escorts (one who is not associated with an "agency", or escort service) to advertise and also discuss issues with other escorts in a comparatively anonymous setting.
Some escorts may work independently of an agency (indies). This is achieved by advertising the services on offer directly in newspapers, magazines or the internet. Communication with clients is usually made on a telephone and appointments are negotiated without any third party involvement. In sex tourism, travelers from rich countries travel to poorer countries such as Thailand in search of sexual services that may be more expensive in their own countries. Other popular sex tourism destinations are Brazil, the Caribbean, and former Eastern bloc countries (despite the fact that prostitution is illegal in many of these countries).
The setting common in Russia (where prostitution is illegal) and other countries of the former USSR takes the form of an open-air prostitution market. One prostitute stands by a roadside, and directs cars to a so-called "tochka" (usually located in alleyways or carparks), where lines of women are paraded for customers in front of their car headlights. The client selects a prostitute, whom he takes away in his car. Under these conditions in particular, the women (often very young girls) are exposed to the risk of abuse. Prevalent in the late 1990s, this type of service has been steadily declining in recent years.
A "lot lizard" is a commonly-encountered special case of street prostitution. Lot lizards mainly serve those in the trucking industry at truck stops and stopping centers. Prostitutes will often proposition truckers using a CB radio from a vehicle parked in the non-commercial section of a truck stop parking lot, communicating through codes based on commercial driving slang, then join the driver in his truck.
In street prostitution, the prostitute solicits customers while waiting at street corners, sometimes called "the track" by pimps and prostitutes alike. They usually dress in skimpy, provocative clothing, regardless of the weather. Street prostitutes are often called "streetwalkers" while their customers are referred to as "tricks" or "johns." Servicing the customers is described as "turning tricks." The sex is usually performed in the customer's car, in a nearby alley, or in a rented room. Motels and hotels which accommodate prostitutes commonly rent rooms by the half or full hour.
Street prostitutes are often motivated by drug addiction (though the statistics are disputed), and are sometimes referred to by slang terms such as "crack whores" or "junkie whores." Sociologists refer to those who trade sex for drugs as "skeezers," and economists have established a direct correlation between the price of street prostitution and the price of cocaine.
Escort services and out-call
Escort agencies typically advertise over the Internet, in regional publications and even telephone listings like the Yellow Pages. Many maintain websites with photo galleries of the employees. An interested client contacts an agency by telephone and offers a description of what kind of escort they are looking for. The agency will then suggest an employee who might fit that client's need. However, this kind of advertising often entails bait and switch practices in which photographs of attractive models who have no connection with the agency are used to attract customers, who are then sent whatever escort is available to the agency at the moment.
The agency collects the client's contact information and calls the escort. Usually, to protect the identity of the escort and ensure effective communication with the client, the agency arranges the appointment. Sometimes it may be up to the escort to contact the client directly to make arrangements for location and time of an appointment. If the agency does not supply transport to and from the client, the escort is also expected to call the agency upon arrival at the location and again upon leaving to assure his or her safe completion of the booking.
The purpose of discretion is to attempt to protect the escort agency (to some degree) from prosecution for breaking the law. If the employee is solely responsible for arranging any illegal aspects of their professional encounter the agency could try to maintain plausible deniability should an arrest be made. However in practice, the use of undercover police evidence or the use of links to reviews of the agencies escorts usually results in this failing.
Typically, an agency will charge their escorts either a flat fee for each client connection or a percentage of the prearranged rate. In San Francisco, it is usual for typical heterosexual-market agencies to negotiate for as little as $100, up to a full 50 percent of an escort's reported earnings (not counting any gratuity received). If they work independently doing either incalls or outcalls, prices can range from $200 to over $5,000 for more exclusive services. Most transactions occur in cash, and optional tipping of escorts by clients in most major US cities is customary but not compulsory. Credit card processing offered by larger scale agencies is often available for a service charge.
Independent escorts, also known as providers, have differing fees depending on many factors. For example; different seasons bring about different costs (and differing levels of demand), as do regular and semi-regular customers. Some may charge by the hour, half hour or even in 15 minute blocks. Time extensions (if offered or requested) are usually priced at the same rate as the original booking.Some escorts pay another individual to act as their personal security, thus providing a level of protection to themselves from violent or abusive clients.
An escort who works less often may be able to command a premium for his or her exclusivity. One who sees several clients each day may charge less, but earn more in the end. Independent escorts might see clients for extended meetings involving dinner or social activities, whereas escorts who work through agencies generally provide only sexual services.
Whilst the vast majority of escort agencies are sex related, there are some non-sexual escort agencies, where escorts provide companionship for business and social occasions.
Sex tourism is travelling for sexual intercourse with prostitutes or to engage in other sexual activity. The World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations defines sex tourism as "trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination".
Often the term "sex tourism" is mistakenly interchanged with the term "child sex tourism". As opposed to regular sex tourism, which is often legal, a tourist who has sex with a child prostitute will usually be committing a crime in the host country, under the laws of his own country (notwithstanding him being outside of it) and against international law. Child sex tourism (CST) is defined as a travel to a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in commercially facilitated child sexual abuse. The term "child" is often used as defined by international law and refers to any person below the age of consent.[clarification needed] Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil and Mexico have been identified as leading hotspots of child sexual exploitation.
On the Internet
Some prostitutes use the Internet to find customers. A prostitute may use adult boards or create a website of their own with contact details, such as email addresses. Adult contact sites, chats and on-line communities are also used. In many parts of the developed world, the Internet is one of the main ways in which buyers find and contact prostitutes. This, in turn, has brought increased scrutiny from law enforcement, public officials, and activist groups toward online prostitution. In 2009, Craigslist came under fire for its role in facilitating online prostitution, and was sued by some 40 US state attorney generals, local prosecutors, and law enforcement officials. Craigslist has since altered its policies to make it more difficult for prostitutes to advertise anonymously, but still allows the advertising of sexual services, which critics contend includes illegal prostitution.
Reviews of the services of individual prostitutes often can be found at various escort review boards worldwide. These online forums are used to trade information between potential clients, and also by prostitutes to advertise the various services available. However, many other prostitutes are critical of such sites, as threats of a negative review are sometimes used by clients used to extort extra services or unsafe sex from sex workers. Sex workers, in turn, often use online forums of their own to exchange information on clients, particularly to warn others about dangerous clients. Participants in these forums also exchange information on law enforcement activity, working conditions, and other matters important to sex workers.
According to the paper "Estimating the prevalence and career longevity of prostitute women" (Potterat et al., 1990), the number of full-time equivalent prostitutes in a typical area in the United States (Colorado Springs, CO, during 1970–1988) is estimated at 23 per 100,000 population (0.023%), of which fraction some 4% were under 18. The length of these prostitutes' working careers was estimated at a mean of 5 years. A follow-up paper entitled "Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in reported number of sexual partners" (Brewer et al., 2000) goes on to estimate a mean number of 868 male sexual partners per prostitute per year of active sex work, and offers the conclusion that men's self-reporting of prostitutes as sexual partners is seriously under-reported.
A number of reports over the last few decades have suggested that prostitution levels have fallen in sexually liberal countries, most likely because of the increased availability of non-commercial, non-marital sex.
Prostitutes have long plied their trades to the military in many cultures. For example, the British naval port of Portsmouth had a flourishing local sex industry in the 19th century, and until the early 1990s there were large red light districts near American military bases in the Philippines. The notorious Patpong entertainment district in Bangkok, Thailand, started as an R&R location for US troops serving in the Vietnam War in the early 1970s.
Prostitution is associated with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV: "One of the main reasons for the rapid spread of HIV in Asian countries is the massive transmission among sex workers and clients". As a result, prevention campaigns aimed at sex workers play a major role in restricting the spread of HIV.
HIV is tied to prostitution in Africa, with one study finding that encounters with prostitutes produced 84% of new HIV infections in adult males in Accra, Ghana. The spread of HIV from urban settings to rural areas in Africa has been attributed to the mobility of farmers who visit sex workers in cities, for example in Ethiopia.Studies in urban settings of prostitution in developing countries have shown a striking burden of STDs, which acts as a reservoir of STDs within the general population.
Typical responses to the problem are:
- banning prostitution completely.
- educating prostitutes and their clients to encourage the use of barrier contraception and greater interaction with health care.
- introducing a system of registration for prostitutes that mandates health checks and other public health measures.
Some think that the first two measures are counter-productive. Banning prostitution tends to drive it underground, making safe sex promotion, treatment and monitoring more difficult. Registering prostitutes makes the state complicit in prostitution and does not address the health risks of unregistered prostitutes. Both of the last two measures can be viewed as harm reduction policies.
In countries and areas where safer sex precautions are either unavailable or not practiced for cultural reasons, prostitution is an active disease vector for all STDs, including HIV/AIDS, but the encouragement of safer sex practices, combined with regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases, has been very successful when applied consistently. As an example, Thailand's condom program has been largely responsible for the country's progress against the HIV epidemic. It has been estimated that successful implementation of safe sex practices in India "would drive the [HIV] epidemic to extinction" while similar measures could achieve a 50% reduction in Botswana.
Attitudes and legal issues
Roughly speaking, the possible attitudes are:
- "Prostitution should be made to disappear":
- prohibitionism (both prostitutes and clients are criminalized and are seen as immoral, they are considered criminals): the prevailing attitude nearly everywhere in the United States, with a few exceptions in some rural Nevada counties (see Prostitution in Nevada).
- abolitionism (prostitution itself is not prohibited, but most associated activities are illegal, in an attempt to make it more difficult to engage in prostitution, prostitution is heavily discouraged and seen as a social problem): prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money) is legal, but the surrounding activities such as public solicitation, operating a brothel and other forms of pimping are prohibited, the current situation in the United Kingdom, France and Canada among others;
- neo-abolitionism ("prostitution is a form of violence against women, it is a violation of human rights, the clients of the prostitutes exploit the prostitutes"): prostitutes are not prosecuted, but their clients and pimps are, which is the current situation in Sweden, Norway and Iceland (in Norway the law is even more strict, forbidding also having sex with a prostitute abroad).
- "Prostitution should be tolerated by society":
- regulation: prostitution may be considered a legitimate business; prostitution and the employment of prostitutes are legal, but regulated; the current situation in the Netherlands, Germany and parts of Nevada (see Prostitution in Nevada). The degree of regulation varies very much, for example in Netherlands prostitutes are not required to undergo mandatory health checks (see Prostitution in the Netherlands) while in Nevada the regulations are very strict (see Prostitution in Nevada).
- decriminalization: "prostitution is labor like any other. Sex industry premises should not be subject to any special regulation or laws", the current situation in New Zealand; the laws against operating a brothel, pimping and street prostitution are struck down, but prostitution is not regulated nearly at all. Proponents of this view often cite instances of government regulation under legalization that they consider intrusive, demeaning, or violent, but feel that criminalization adversely affects sex workers.
In some countries, there is controversy regarding the laws applicable to sex work. For instance, the legal stance of punishing pimping while keeping sex work legal but "underground" and risky is often denounced as hypocritical; opponents suggest either going the full abolition route and criminalize clients or making sex work a regulated business.
Many countries have sex worker advocacy groups which lobby against criminalization and discrimination of prostitutes.These groups generally oppose Nevada-style regulation and oversight, stating that prostitution should be treated like other professions. In the United States of America, one such group is COYOTE (an abbreviation for "Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics") and another is the North American Task Force on Prostitution. In Australia the lead sex worker rights organisation is Scarlet Alliance. International prostitutes' rights organizations include the International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights and the Network of Sex Work Projects.
Other groups, often with religious backgrounds, focus on offering women a way out of the world of prostitution while not taking a position on the legal question.
Prostitution is a significant issue in feminist thought and activism. Many feminists are opposed to prostitution, which they see as a form of exploitation of women and male dominance over women, and as a practice which is the result of the existing patriarchal societal order. These feminists argue that prostitution has a very negative effect, both on the prostitutes themselves and on society as a whole, as it reinforces stereotypical views about women, who are seen as sex objects which can be used and abused by men. Other feminists hold that prostitution can be a valid choice for the women who choose to engage in it; in this view, prostitution must be differentiated from forced prostitution, and feminists should support sex worker activism against abuses by both the sex industry and the legal system.
In 1949, the UN General Assembly adopted a convention stating that trafficking persons for the purposes of prostitution is incompatible with human dignity, requiring all signing parties to punish pimps and brothel owners and operators and to abolish all special treatment or registration of prostitutes. As of January 2009, the convention was ratified by 95 member nations including France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and not ratified by another 97 member nations including Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
In colloquial usage, the word "prostitute" is sometimes generalized to mean the selling of one's services for a cause thought to be unworthy, in the sense of "prostituting oneself" or "whoring oneself". In this sense, the services or acts performed are typically not sexual. For instance, in the book, The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield says of his brother ("D.B."): "Now he's out in Hollywood, D.B., being a prostitute. If there's one thing I hate, it's the movies. Don't even mention them to me." In fact, D.B. is writing screenplays for movies that do badly at the box office.
- Comfort women
- International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
- The House of Dolls
- Köçek, Tellak, Bacchá, Hijra, Sigheh
- List of famous prostitutes
- Meshimori onna
- Prostitution in Ancient Greece
- Prostitution (criminology)
- Recreation and Amusement Association
- Sacred prostitution
- Professional dominant, Courtesan, Hetaera, Oiran, Rentboy, Sanky-panky, Call girl
- ^ a b http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/prostitution
- ^ Richard D. McAnulty, M. Michele Burnette (2006). Sex and sexuality. 1. pp. 304.
- ^ Society for International Development (2006). Development. 49.
- ^ Adult Industry Terms and Acronyms
- ^ Jenness, Valerie (1990). "From Sex as Sin to Sex as Work: COYOTE and the Reorganization of Prostitution as a Social Problem," Social Problems, 37(3), 403-420. "[P]rostitution has existed in every society for which there are written records [...]"
- ^ Bullough, Vern and Bullough, Bonnie (1978). Prostitution: An Illustrated Social History. New York: Crown Publishers.
- ^ "History of Prostitution"
- ^ Justin Martyr, First Apology http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0126.htm "But as for us, we have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do any one an injury, and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution."
- ^ Norman Davies (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 413. ISBN 0-19-820171-0.
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- ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whore
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- Schrager, Allison (10 April 2008). The Economics of High-end Prostitutes, Intelligent Life, (The Economist).
- Rohrer, Finlo (22 February 2008). The men who sleep with prostitutes, BBC News Magazine.