|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
Prostitution is the selling or trading of sexual favors and a prostitute is the person (usually female) who engages in sexual activity for money (or, sometimes, to barter for other goods or services).
 The bad side
Historically, religion and prostitution have often been combined, with church-run brothels being common in many areas up until only a few hundred years ago. Presently, however, it is considered a "sin" by a number of religions - particularly Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Because of this, it is an often illegal and therefore dangerous, underground profession. Prostitution can be a bad occupation to be in for several reasons:
- Most people in the business are there because they had nowhere else to turn.
- Some clients treat you like property.
- Society treats you like you're subhuman.
- Those not lucky enough to be extremely hot and/or ambitious tend to wind up being practically slaves where prostitution is illegal.
- The illegality of the profession makes reporting abuse impossible as police will arrest hookers more readily than the people who attack them.
Although a lot of people working in the service industry, fast food, working as janitors, or working as garbage men, can be said to fall into many of the categories described above. How many burger flippers had nowhere else to turn? How many waitresses are treated like they're subhuman? And what sort of dead-end job at Wal-Mart isn't like slavery? Prostitution is only really singled out because of our prior belief that sex is a more important human principle to be protected, and because many prostitutes outside the First World are literally slaves
The issue of whether prostitution should be legal in many areas, however, is intertwined with human rights issues, especially as many sex workers (especially in poor areas with limited law enforcement or areas where prostitution is effectively or de jure illegal) live as virtual slaves to their pimps and have often been brought into the business against their will or under false pretenses, in violation of informed consent.
On the flip side, however, anti-prostitution legislation is often criticized for using the opinions of a few sex workers for fear mongering, while ignoring the opinions of sex workers who are content with their job, and disregarding any proposals actually made by sex workers for how their jobs could be made safer. This was summed up by the viral PSA spread across youtube entitled "Nothing About Us Without Us." 
 The good side
It may be argued that, as in the case with drugs, many of the wider social issues associated with prostitution arise from the criminalisation of the occupation, and not the occupation itself. Prostitution can be a lucrative profession, and is even legal in some countries and localities. Where it is legal, it is a far safer profession for those who choose to enter it because of the addition of police protection, regular testing for HIV and other STDs, and the ability to screen clients.
 Views on prostitution
- As a general rule, conservatives say they don't like prostitution because they say it's immoral. If one believes the old adage about it being the oldest profession in the world, it's perhaps an odd position as conservatism is about holding on to such old values.
- Because prostitution is rarely about a woman having control over her body in exchange for money, and more often about a woman becoming the property of a pimp, or worse, feminists are often torn on the issue of prostitution. On the one hand, most feminists accept that when a women is able to be in control of choices, it is her right to use her own body as she wishes, as long as the sex is safe, consensual and fair. This view is especially true of so called "sex positive" feminists. On the other hand, prostitution is almost never safe, consensual and fair, causing many feminists to see it as exploitative. Extreme feminists have argued that in most societies and relationships, prostitution is the norm, though it might be "sex for a
zirconiumdiamond ring". In this view, any prostitution reinforces the view of female as property to be bought and sold.
- Liberals are somewhat divided on it much in the same way that feminist thought is. On the one hand, social liberalism that focuses on freedom of expression and freedom to do what you want would be for the legalization and protection of prostitution. On the other hand they can view it as exploitative, unnecessary and a barrier to social mobility.
- As with social liberals, libertarians are fine with it. But because of the basic libertarian principle of letting people do what the fuck they like, they don't tend to hold the same reservations as liberals because that might mean too much Government Interference. Whether they'd change their minds on this if their kids got into it is a different story.
- Generally socialists are fine with it, although it cannot be a profession one must take if available as a condition of getting unemployment insurance.
- Communists think that it's bad, because it is an opportunity for the bourgeoisie to exploit human sexuality and profit from it. Pigs!
- Similarly to libertarianism, anarchists oppose the use of the force to prevent prostitution. They disagree about whether it is otherwise acceptable, however. Spanish anarchist feminists in Barcelona during the civil war tried to get prostitutes to leave the profession (their circumstances were not those people either for or against would like) while modern anarchists focus on helping to improve prostitutes lives, which includes opposing laws against their work.
In any case, the issue of prostitution is often tied up with matters of slavery, illegal immigration, and sometimes child molestation, vastly complicating the moral issues involved. Legal or no, however, prostitution continues everywhere and is often known as marriage.
Prostitution is often referred to as "the oldest profession"; George Carlin once wondered why it was illegal to sell something that was perfectly legal to give away, and Maddox maintains that not paying a hooker should be considered shoplifting.
Prostitutes who service rich customers, make a lot of money and can choose their clients are known as "call-girls" or "escorts" - referring to the way that they contact and become involved with their clients. This is opposed to "streetwalkers" who, as their name implies, walk the streets to find clients. They typically make less money from each of their customers, and are much more likely to be involved in the more unsavory activities that are most often associated with prostitution. Male prostitutes/"escorts" may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bi-sexual, while their sexual proclivities have no bearing on the clientele they service, just as for women in the industry. Male prostitutes who service wealthy women are often known as "gigolos".
Some conservatives who are against prostitution, like, for example Jimmy Swaggart, have a history of not practicing what they preach.
 Legalized prostitution
Marriage is considered to be legalized prostitution by some feminist scholars, such as Dale Spender and women's rights activist Victoria Woodhull. Despite this claim, many men and women are happily married in loving relationships.
There are some who view doing anything that you don't want to do, but are willing to do for money, as a form of prostitution. This would make most of the global work force, and almost all politicians, filthy stinking whores.
 Not to be confused with
- ↑ Ruth Mazo Karras, Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England
- ↑ Although this accusation may be controversial.
- ↑ A publication by the US Marine Corps, Marinenet course "Preventing Trafficking in Persons", says something to the effect of "Prostitution is illegal everywhere you go, but in most places outside the states, using the services of prostitutes supports slavery"
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pF7pOWg0sXA
- ↑ Like, for instance, Nevada in the United States.
- ↑ And "window shopping" is how they advertise in Amsterdam.
- ↑ Wendy Shalit, A Return to Modesty, pp 230, ISBN 9780684843162
- ↑ David A. J. Richards, Women, Gays, and the Constitution, pp 168, ISBN 9780226712079
- ↑ "Work: a prison of measured time." Phoenix Rising Magazine