Prostitution is the business or act of providing sexual services to another person  for payment. A person who receives money for sexual services is called a prostitute or sex worker, and the person receiving such services is known by various names. 

Prostitution is a branch of the sex industry. The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country and ranges from permitted but unregulated, to a punishable crime, to a regulated occupation. According to estimates, the annual revenue of the global prostitution industry exceeds $100 billion. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as “the world’s oldest profession.”

Prostitution takes many forms. A brothel is an establishment specifically dedicated to prostitution. In escort prostitution, the acts may take place in the client’s apartment or hotel room (so-called outcall), but also in the escort’s apartment or  a hotel room rented  by the escort lady for the purpose (so-called incall). Another form is street prostitution. Sex tourism is travel, typically from developed countries to less developed countries, for the purpose of having sex with prostitutes.

See Also: Frankfurt Sex Guide

Prostitution in the past 100 years

Leading communist philosophers were against prostitution. After coming to power, the communist government made frequent attempts to suppress this practice, but it always continued. Although still banned, it is still widely used in modern communist countries. The rise in prostitution was due to the economic downturn  in many current or former communist countries following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The leading theorists of communism rejected prostitution. Communist governments often tried to suppress this practice immediately after seizing power, but it always continued. In today’s communist countries, it is still illegal, but still common. Economic decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union led to an increase in prostitution in many current or former communist countries.  

Prostitution was initially widely accepted as legal in the United States. Between 1910 and 1915,  partly due to the influence of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, prostitution was prohibited in virtually every state. [citation needed] However, as prostitution in South Korea was an important source of income for the country’s economy, it was heavily subsidized by the military government. 

The Sexual Offenses Act 1956 was first passed in the UK in 1956. Although operating a brothel was an illegal activity, the regulations did not criminalize prostitution throughout the UK. The Street Crimes Act  1959 made advertising illegal. The Sexual Offenses Act  2003 and the Police and Crime Act  2009 partially repealed and amended these laws. Starting in the late 1980s, many U.S. states tightened laws against prostitution if customers learned that the prostitute was HIV-positive. Maximum prison sentences for  prostitution crimes are typically 10 to 15 years. In the late 20th century, sex tourism emerged as a divisive aspect of Western travel and globalization. Prostitutes in Mexico in the 21st Century, 2009 The practice of “bacha bazi”, juvenile prostitution, was reintroduced to Afghans in the 21st century. 

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, thousands of girls from Eastern Europe have worked as prostitutes in China, Israel, Greece, Turkey and Germany every year. While some girls choose to join the field voluntarily, others are tricked into enduring imprisonment and violence. Tens of thousands of women from Eastern Europe and Asia work as prostitutes in Dubai. The majority of customers are men from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

Devadasi women in India are forced by their parents to devote themselves to the Hindu goddess Renuka. The BBC wrote in 2007 that devadasis are “sanctified sex workers”. Historically and currently, religious sex workers have existed, but their practice may or may not be legal  depending on the country, state, or locality.

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