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|Names||Women: Hooker, call girl, oldest profession worker, hoe, whore, harlot, tart, trollop, strumpet, slut, courtesan, escort, masseuse, lady of pleasure, lady of the night, working girl, doxy, floozie, hussy, scarlet woman
Men: Rent boy, male escort, masseur, gigolo, lad model, gent of the night, toy boy, sporting boy
|Activity sectors||Entertainment/Sex industry|
|Competencies||Physical attractiveness, interpersonal skills.
Male prostitutes usually require an ability to maintain an erection.
A person who works in this field is called a prostitute, and is a kind of sex worker. Prostitution is one of the branches of the sex industry. The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country, from being permissible but unregulated, to an enforced or unenforced crime or to a regulated profession. Prostitution is sometimes also referred to as "the world's oldest profession". Estimates place the annual revenue generated by prostitution worldwide to be over $100 billion.
Prostitution occurs in a variety of forms. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution. In escort prostitution, the act may take place at the client's residence or hotel room (referred to as out-call), or at the escort's residence or a hotel room rented for the occasion by the escort (in-call). Another form is street prostitution. Although the majority of prostitutes are female with male clients, there are also gay male prostitutes, lesbian prostitutes, and heterosexual male prostitutes. Sex tourism refers to traveling to engage in sexual relations with prostitutes. Some rich clients may pay for long-term contracts that may last for years.
- 1 Etymology and terminology
- 2 History
- 3 Payments and salaries
- 4 Laws
- 5 Socio-economic issues
Etymology and terminology[edit source | visual editor]
Prostitute is derived from the Latin prostituta. Some sources cite the verb as a composition of "pro" meaning "up front" or "forward" and "situere", defined as "to offer up for sale". Another explanation is that prostituta is a composition of pro and statuere (to cause to stand, to station, place erect). A literal translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place forward". The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one 'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered.'"
The word prostitute was then carried down through various languages to the present-day Western society. Most sex worker activists groups reject the word prostitute and since the late 1970s have used the term sex worker instead. However, sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sexual nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes.
A variety of terms are used for those who engage in prostitution, some of which distinguish between different types of prostitution or imply a value judgment about them. Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes.
The English word whore derives from the Old English word hōra, from the Proto-Germanic *hōrōn (prostitute), which derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *keh₂- meaning "desire", a root which has also given us Latin cārus (dear), whence the French cher (dear, expensive) and the Latin cāritās (love, charity). Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho'. In Germany, however, 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. Another commonly-used word for a prostitute is hooker. Although a popular etymology connects "hooker" with Joseph Hooker, a Union general in the American Civil War, the word more likely comes from the concentration of prostitutes around the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook area of Manhattan in the 1820s, who came to be referred to as "hookers". A streetwalker solicits customers on the streets or in public places, while a call girl makes appointments by phone.
Correctly or not, use of the word prostitute without specifying a sex may commonly be assumed to be female; compound terms such as male prostitution or male escort are therefore often 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 clients of prostitutes are also 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 frequent customer practice of giving one's 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.
Other meanings[edit source | visual editor]
The word "prostitution" can also be used metaphorically to mean debasing oneself or working towards an unworthy cause or "selling out". In this sense, "prostituting oneself" or "whoring oneself" 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." D.B. is not literally a prostitute; Holden feels that his job writing B-movie screenplays is morally debasing. Sex work researcher and writer Gail Pheterson says that this additional definition exists because "the term "prostitute" gradually took on a Christian moralist tradition, as being synonymous with debasement of oneself or of others for the purpose of ill-gotten gains".
History[edit source | visual editor]
Folklore[edit source | visual editor]
According to Zohar and the Alphabet of Ben Sira, there were four angels of sacred prostitution, who mated with archangel Samael. They were the queens of the demons Lilith, Naamah, Agrat Bat Mahlat and Eisheth Zenunim.
Ancient Near East[edit source | visual editor]
In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers there were many shrines and temples or "houses of heaven" dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories where sacred prostitution was a common practice. It came to an end when the emperor Constantine in the fourth century AD destroyed the goddess temples and replaced them with Christianity.
As early as the 18th century BC, ancient 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.
Greece[edit source | visual editor]
Both women and boys engaged in prostitution in ancient Greece. 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, the Japanese oiran, and 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.
Rome[edit source | visual editor]
Prostitution in ancient Rome was legal, public, and widespread. A registered prostitute was called a meretrix while the unregistered one fell under the broad category prostibulae. 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.
Asia[edit source | visual editor]
According to Shia Muslims, the prophet Muhammad sanctioned fixed-term marriage – muta'a in Iraq and sigheh in Iran — which has instead been used as a legitimizing cover for sex workers, in a culture where prostitution is otherwise forbidden. Sunni Muslims, who make up the majority of Muslims worldwide, believe the practice of fixed-term marriage was abrogated and ultimately forbidden by either Muhammad, or one of his successors, Umar. Like the Shia, Sunnis regard prostitution as sinful and forbidden.
In the early 17th century, there was widespread male and female prostitution throughout the cities of Kyoto, Edo, and Osaka, Japan. Oiran were courtesans in Japan during the Edo period. The oiran were considered a type of yūjo (遊女) "woman of pleasure" or prostitute. Among the oiran, the tayū (太夫) was considered the highest rank of courtesan available only to the wealthiest and highest ranking men. To entertain their clients, oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry, and calligraphy as well as sexual services, and an educated wit was considered essential for sophisticated conversation. Many became celebrities of their times outside the pleasure districts. Their art and fashions often set trends among wealthy women. The last recorded oiran was in 1761. Although illegal in modern Japan, the definition of prostitution does not extend to a "private agreement" reached between a woman and a man in a brothel. Yoshiwara has a large number of soaplands that began when explicit prostitution in Japan became illegal, where women washed men's bodies. They were originally known as toruko-buro, meaning Turkish bath.
A tawaif was a courtesan who catered to the nobility of South Asia, particularly during the era of the Mughal Empire. These courtesans danced, sang, recited poetry and entertained their suitors at mehfils. Like the geisha tradition in Japan, their main purpose was to professionally entertain their guests, and while sex was often incidental, it was not assured contractually. High-class or the most popular tawaifs could often pick and choose between the best of their suitors. They contributed to music, dance, theatre, film, and the Urdu literary tradition.
Middle Ages[edit source | visual editor]
Throughout the Middle Ages the definition of a prostitute has been ambiguous, with various secular and canonical organizations defining prostitution in constantly evolving terms. Even though medieval secular authorities created legislation to deal with the phenomenon of prostitution, they rarely attempted to define what a prostitute was because it was deemed unnecessary “to specify exactly who fell into that [specific] category” of a prostitute. The first known definition of prostitution was found in Marseille’s thirteenth century statutes, which included a chapter entitled De meretricibus (“regarding prostitutes”). The Marseillais designated prostitutes as “public girls” who, day and night, received two or more men in their house, and as a woman who “did business trading [their bodies] , within the confine[s] of a brothel.” A fourteenth-century English tract, Fasciculus Morum, states that the term prostitute (termed 'meretrix' in this document), “must be applied only to those women who give themselves to anyone and will refuse none, and that for monetary gain”. In general prostitution was not typically a life-time career choice for women. Women usually alternated their career of prostitution with "petty retailing, and victualing," or only occasionally turning to prostitution in times of great financial need. Women who became prostitutes often did not have the familial ties or means to protect themselves from the lure of prostitution, and it has been recorded on several occasions that mothers would be charged with prostituting their own daughters in exchange for extra money. Medieval civilians accepted without question the fact of prostitution, it was necessary part of medieval life. Prostitutes subverted the sexual tendencies of male youth, just by existing. With the establishment of prostitution men were less likely to collectively rape honest women of marriageable and re-marriageable age. This is most clearly demonstrated in St. Augustine's claim that “the removal of the institution would bring lust into all aspects of the world.” Meaning that without prostitutes to subvert male tendencies, men would go after innocent women instead, thus the prostitutes were actually doing society a favor.
In urban societies there was an erroneous view that prostitution was flourishing more in rural regions rather than in cities, however it has been proven that prostitution was more rampant in cities and large towns. Although there were wandering prostitutes in rural areas who worked based on the calendar of fairs, similar to riding a circuit, in which prostitutes stopped by various towns based on what event was going on at the time, most prostitutes remained in cities. Cities tended to draw more prostitutes due to the sheer size of the population and the institutionalization of prostitution in urban areas which made it more rampant in metropolitan regions. Furthermore in both urban and rural areas of society, women who did not live under the rule of male authority were more likely to be suspected of prostitution that their oppressed counterparts because of the fear of women who did not fit into a stereotypical category outside of marriage or religious life. Secular law, like most other aspects of prostitution in the Middle Ages, is difficult to generalize due to the regional variations in attitudes towards prostitution. The global trend of the thirteenth century was toward the development of positive policy on prostitution as laws exiling prostitutes changed towards sumptuary laws and the confinement of prostitutes to red light districts.
Sumptuary laws became the regulatory norm for prostitutes and included making courtesans “wear a shoulder-knot of a particular color as a badge of their calling” to be able to easily distinguish the prostitute from a respectable woman in society. The color that designated them as prostitutes could vary from different earth tones to yellow, as was usually designated as a color of shame in the Hebrew communities. These laws, however, proved no impediment to wealthier prostitutes because their glamorous appearances were almost indistinguishable from noble women.
Although brothels were still present in most cities and urban centers, and could range from private bordelages run by a procuress from her home to public baths and centers established by municipal legislation, the only centers for prostitution legally allowed were the institutionalized and publicly funded brothels. However this did not prevent illegal brothels from thriving. Furthermore, brothels theoretically banned the patronage of married men and clergy also, but it was sporadically enforced and there is evidence of clergymen present in brawls that were documented in brothels. Thus it is obvious that the clergy were at least present in brothels at some point or another. Brothels also settled the “obsessive fear of the sharing of women” and solved the issue of “collective security.” The lives of prostitutes in brothels were not cloistered like that of nuns and “only some lived permanently in the streets assigned to them.” Prostitutes were only allowed to practice their trade in the brothel in which they worked. Brothels were also used to protect prostitutes and their clients through various regulations. For example the law that “forbid brothel keepers [from] beat[ing] them.” However, brothel regulations also hindered prostitutes' lives by forbidding them from having “lovers other than their customers” or from having a favored customer.
Courts showed the conflicting views on the role of prostitutes in secular law as prostitutes could not inherit property, defend themselves in court, or make accusations in court. However, prostitutes were sometimes called upon as witnesses during trial.
16th–17th centuries[edit source | visual editor]
By the end of the 15th 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 16th century may have been causes of this change in attitude. By the early 16th century the association between prostitutes, plague, and contagion emerged, causing brothels and prostitution to be outlawed by secular authority. Furthermore, outlawing brothel-keeping and prostitution was also used to “strengthen the criminal law” system of the sixteenth century secular rulers. Canon law defined a prostitute as “a promiscuous woman, regardless of financial elements.” The prostitute was considered a “whore … who [was] available for the lust of many men,” and was most closely associated with promiscuity.
The Church’s stance on prostitution was three-fold: “acceptance of prostitution as an inevitable social fact, condemnation of those profiting from this commerce, and encouragement for the prostitute to repent.” The Church was forced to recognize its inability to remove prostitution from the worldly society, and in the fourteenth century “began to tolerate prostitution as a lesser evil.” However, prostitutes were to be excluded from the Church as long as they practiced. Around the twelfth century, the idea of prostitute saints took hold, with Mary Magdalene being one of the most popular saints of the era. The Church used Mary Magdalene’s biblical history of being a reformed harlot to encourage prostitutes to repent and mend their ways. Simultaneously, religious houses were established with the purpose of providing asylum and encouraging the reformation of prostitution. ‘Magdalene Homes’ were particularly popular and peaked especially in the early fourteenth century. Over the course of the Middle Ages, popes and religious communities made various attempts to remove prostitution or reform prostitutes, with varying success.
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.
18th century[edit source | visual editor]
According to Dervish Ismail Agha, in the Dellâkname-i Dilküşâ, the Ottoman archives, in the Turkish baths, the masseurs were traditionally young men, who helped wash clients by soaping and scrubbing their bodies. They also worked as sex workers. The Ottoman texts describe who they were, their prices, how many times they could bring their customers to orgasm, and the details of their sexual practices.
During the British East India Company's rule in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was initially fairly common for British soldiers to engage in inter-ethnic prostitution in India, where they frequently visited local Indian nautch dancers. As British females began arriving in British India in large numbers from the early to mid-19th century, it became increasingly uncommon for British soldiers to visit Indian prostitutes, and miscegenation was despised altogether after the events of the Indian Rebellion of 1857.
19th century[edit source | visual editor]
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. 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.
20th century[edit source | visual editor]
The leading theorists of Communism opposed prostitution. Communist governments often attempted to repress the practice immediately after obtaining power, although it always persisted. In contemporary Communist countries, it remains illegal but is nonetheless common. The economic decline brought about by the collapse of the Soviet union led to increased prostitution in many current or former Communist countries.
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. On the other hand, prostitution generated much national revenue in South Korea, hence military government encouraged the Prostitution for the U.S. military.
In 1956, the United Kingdom introduced the Sexual Offences Act 1956, which was partly repealed, and altered, by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the Policing and Crime Act 2009. While this law did not criminalise the act of prostitution in the United Kingdom itself, it prohibited 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. Penalties for felony prostitution vary, with maximum sentences of typically 10 to 15 years in prison.
21st century[edit source | visual editor]
Since the break up of the Soviet Union, thousands of eastern European women end up as prostitutes in China, Western Europe, Israel, and Turkey every year. There are tens of thousands of women from eastern Europe and Asia working as prostitutes in Dubai. Men from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates form a large proportion of the customers.
Payments and salaries[edit source | visual editor]
Prostitutes' salaries and payments fluctuate according to the economic conditions of their respective countries. Prostitutes who usually have foreign clients, such as business travelers, depend on good foreign economic conditions. Payment may vary according to regulations made by brothel keepers, madams, and procurers, who usually take a slice out of a prostitute's income. Prices may further depend on demand; popular, high-end prostitutes can earn significant amounts of money (upwards of $5,000 per client). Virgins also receive higher payments with some payments going up to $780,000.
Laws[edit source | visual editor]
Attitudes[edit source | visual editor]
Roughly speaking, the possible attitudes are:
- "Prostitution should be tolerated by society":
- 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 hardly regulated 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.
- 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, most of Australia 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)
- "Prostitution should not be tolerated":
- 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).
- 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)
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 February 2014, the members of the European Parliament voted in a non-binding resolution, (adopted by 343 votes to 139; with 105 abstentions), in favor of the 'Swedish Model' of criminalizing the buying, but not the selling of sex.
Legality[edit source | visual editor]
The position of prostitution and the law varies widely worldwide, reflecting differing opinions on victimhood and exploitation, inequality, gender roles, gender equality, ethics and morality, freedom of choice, historical social norms, and social costs and benefits.
Legal themes tend to address four types of issue: victimhood (including potential victimhood), ethics and morality, freedom of choice, and general benefit or harm to society (including harm arising indirectly from matters connected to prostitution).
Prostitution may be considered a form of exploitation (e.g., Sweden, Norway, Iceland, where it is illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them — the client commits a crime, but not the prostitute), a legitimate occupation (e.g., Netherlands, Germany, where prostitution is regulated as a profession) or a crime (e.g., many Muslim countries, where the prostitutes face severe penalties).
The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country, from being legal and considered a profession to being punishable by death. Some jurisdictions outlaw the act of prostitution (the exchange of sexual services for money); other countries do not prohibit prostitution itself, but ban the activities typically associated with it (soliciting in a public place, operating a brothel, pimping etc.), making it difficult to engage in prostitution without breaking any law; and in a few countries prostitution is legal and regulated.
In 1949, the UN General Assembly adopted a convention stating that "prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person", 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.
Advertising[edit source | visual editor]
- 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 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).
The way in which prostitutes advertise their presence varies widely. Some remain in apartments which have hints or clues outside such as posters with "model" written on them to lure potential customers inside. Others advertise by putting numbers or location in phoneboxes or in online or newspaper ads. In more sexually permissive societies, prostitutes can advertise in public view, such as through display windows. In sexually restrictive societies it may occur through word-of-mouth and other means.
Socio-economic issues[edit source | visual editor]
Illegal immigration[edit source | visual editor]
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.
The immigration status of the persons who sell sexual services is – particularly in Western Europe – a controversial and highly debated political issue. Currently, in most of these countries most prostitutes are immigrants, mainly from Eastern and Central Europe; in Spain and Italy 90% of prostitutes are estimated to be migrants, in Austria 78%, in Switzerland 75%, in Greece 73%, in Norway 70% (according to a 2009 TAMPEP report, Sex Work in Europe-A mapping of the prostitution scene in 25 European countries). An article in Le Monde diplomatique in 1997 stated that 80% of prostitutes in Amsterdam were foreigners and 70% had no immigration papers.
Survival sex[edit source | visual editor]
Survival sex is when the prostitute is driven to prostitution by a need for basic necessities such as food or shelter. This type of prostitution is common among the homeless and in refugee camps. The term is used in the sex trade and by aid workers, although some practitioners do not regard the act as exploitative.
Use of children[edit source | visual editor]
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.
In Bangladesh, child prostitutes are known to take the drug Oradexon, also known as dexamethasone. This over-the-counter steroid, usually used by farmers to fatten cattle, makes child prostitutes look larger and older. Charities say that 90% of prostitutes in the country’s legalized brothels use the drug. According to social activists, the steroid can cause diabetes, high blood pressure and is highly addictive.
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.
Violence[edit source | visual editor]
In the United States, the homicide rate for female prostitutes was estimated to be 204 per 100,000. 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. Violence against male prostitutes is less common.
Prostitution may sometimes be associated with illegal, abusive, and dangerous activities. One view maintains that this results from prostitution being stigmatized or illegal, or both. Another, however, believes that legalizing and regulating prostitution does not improve the situation, but instead makes it worse, creating a parallel illegal prostitution industry, and failing to dissociate the legal part of the sex trade from crime.
Human trafficking[edit source | visual editor]
The United Nations stated in 2009 that sex trafficking is the most commonly identified form of human trafficking and estimates that about 79% of human trafficking reported is for prostitution (although the study notes that this may be the result of statistical bias and that sex trafficking tends to receive the most attention and be the most visible). Sex trafficking has been described[who?] as "the largest slave trade in history" and as the fastest growing form of contemporary slavery. It is also the fastest growing criminal industry, predicted to outgrow drug trafficking. While there may be a higher number of people involved in slavery
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