What is Prostitution ?
Prostitution is the business or practice of engaging in sexual relations in exchange for payment or some other benefit. Prostitution is sometimes described as commercial sex or hooking. Depending on the jurisdiction, prostitution can be legal or illegal.
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: other branches include pornography, stripping, nude modeling, and erotic dancing. The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country (sometimes from region to region within a given country), ranging from being permissible but unregulated, to an enforced or unenforced crime, or a regulated profession. It is sometimes referred to euphemistically as “the world’s oldest profession” in the English-speaking world. 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 identify as female and have male clients, there are also gay male prostitutes, lesbian prostitutes, and heterosexual male prostitutes.
There are about 42 million prostitutes in the world, living all over the world (though most of Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa lacks data, studied countries in that large region rank as top sex tourism destinations). Sex tourism refers to the practice of traveling to engage in sexual relations with prostitutes in other countries. Some rich clients may pay for long-term contracts that may last for years.
Prostitution is frequently viewed as a form of exploitation of or violence against women and children, and helps to create a supply of victims for human trafficking. Some critics of prostitution as an institution are supporters of the Swedish model, which has also been adopted by Canada, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Norway and France.
Etymology and terminology
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, or in recent years, through email or the internet.
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.
Organizers of prostitution may be known as pimps (if male) and madams or Mama-san (if female). More formally, one who is said to practice procuring is a procurer, or procuress.
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.
Payments and salaries
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 pimps, 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), and virgins may receive even higher payments.…