Noun • a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money • a man who engages in such activity, esp. in homosexual practices • a person who offers his talent or work for unworthy purposes • Verb • to offer (oneself or another) in sexual intercourse for money • to offer (a person, esp. oneself, or a person's talent) for unworthy purposes • Slang • Street walker, Pro, Whore, Ho • Lady of the Night, Hooker, Call girl • Hustler, Trick, Date, Working girl • Fallen woman, Loose woman, White slave
Prostitution is often referred to as "the world's oldest profession.“ But the trade was actually superceded by hunting and farming. • One of the earliest known civilizations to refer to prostitution was the Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia, which is modern Iraq. • They referred to prostitutes as kar.kid and mention prostitution as a profession as far back as 2400 B.C. • The assumption is that prostitution was connected to a temple service
In 500 B.C., brothels began appearing in Greek society. Prostitutes — or pornes, as they were called — could be independent, but they were required to dress in distinctive clothing and had pay taxes to the government. • Both males and females worked in the profession, although the male prostitutes were commonly adolescents. • Prostitution was legal, or at least tolerated, in most parts of the world until about 590 A.D., when the King of Spain banned the practice in his country. • The men who patronized the women were not punished for their activities, but the women were whipped and exiled.
In 1161, King Henry II took an open-minded attitude toward prostitution. • Regulation: require prostitutes in London be single and that brothels submit to weekly inspections. • Roughly 200 years later, Italy took a unique stance on prostitution. • The Great Council of Venice declared the practice "absolutely indispensable to the world." • From there, government-funded brothels began to pop up throughout the country during the 14th and 15th centuries.
4 percent of the residents of New York — an estimated populous of 250,000 — were working as prostitutes in 1831. • The trade flourished from there, but in 1875, the U.S. government took a sterner stance on the profession and passed the Page Act of 1875, a federal law that outlawed the practice of importing women into the country for the purpose of prostitution. • By 1910, 1 out of every 50 American women were working as prostitutes. • Lawmakers passed the Mann Act, which was against "prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.” • The law dealt with forced prostitution as well as harboring or transporting immigrant prostitutes across state lines.
In 1955, one of the most famous brothels — the Moonlight Bunny Ranch — opened in Nevada. • Less than 20 years later, the ranch was legitimized when Nevada was given the option of licensing brothels. • The law remains in effect today and, to date, there are nearly 30 licensed brothels in the state. • While prostitution is illegal in nearly every U.S. state, nearly $14.5 billion dollars is spent on prostitution every year and more than $23 million a year is spent enforcing prostitution laws.
In more recent years, laws regarding prostitution have significantly varied throughout the world. • In 1999, Sweden took a unique approach, deeming female prostitution as violence against women. As a result, only the men who patronize them are considered criminals • In 2000, the Netherlands legalized brothels if prostitutes were of age and obtained a work permit. • Germany took a similar approach in 2002, saying that prostitution is legal if a formal contract is in place between the prostitutes and the individuals who patronize them. • New Zealand also legalized the practice in 2003 • In 2009, Norway made prostitution illegal
In 2004, while a major prostitution sting was going on in another part of the state, leading to the arrest of 60-80 men each night of the operation, the City of Berkeley, Calif., considered decriminalizing prostitution. • In Berkeley, the proposal was vetoed, with 63% of the residents voting against it. • That same year, in the State of Hawaii, an effort at legalization stalled when lawmakers failed to hold a hearing on the proposed bill.
Myths of ProstitutionProstitution is the World's Oldest Profession • While the exchange of sexual acts for money is an institution that has existed for thousands of years, calling prostitution "the world's oldest profession" is not a statement of fact, no matter how many times it gets repeated. • Farmers, housewives and religious leaders predate prostitutes. • While there is some evidence that nonhuman primates have engaged in trading goods and services for sex, the first instances of humans trading money for sex occurred in and around the temples of ancient Mesopotamia between 6000 and 5000 B.C. • The first prostitute in literature appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh. She was aptly named "The Whore." The book is believed to have been written as early as 3000 B.C. • Agriculture, by comparison, is thought to have sprung up 10,000 years ago, and some archaeological evidence points to its arrival 13,000 years before that.
Myths of ProstitutionProstitution Always Involves Sex • Who would guess that sometimes when prostitutes and johns meet, sex is the last thing on their minds? • Roughly 40 percent of visits between johns and high-end sex workers did not involve sexual contact. • Many well-to-do clients turn to prostitutes — particularly those charging hefty amounts — to essentially buy a relationship and a confidante. • Similarly, some sex workers, require prospective clients to undergo background checks, referrals or a lengthy faux courtship before engaging in sexual relations. Even among lower-priced prostitutes, 20 percent of encounters don't involve sex
Prostitution MythsProstitutes are just “Girls from the Wrong Side of the Tracks” • Prostitutes don't fit a singular profile — not all are drug-addled victims of abuse, nor are they all living a happy-go-lucky Pretty Woman lifestyle. • They're not always even women. Male prostitutes have existed alongside their female counterparts since ancient Mesopotamia. • There are women who have left the corporate world and carved out a business as sex workers and command thousands of dollars per visit. • There are street-level prostitutes who, lacking skills or other job opportunities and regularly possessing addictions, turn to prostitution and earn just a few hundred dollars a week. • But prostitution is increasingly tied to sex trafficking. • In Madrid, 90 percent of its 50,000 prostitutes are immigrants, and 70 percent of that figure are sex slaves. • Disquieting numbers of children are being pulled into the trade as well: at least a quarter of adult prostitutes in the United States started as children. Many of these children are bribed, kidnapped or coerced into becoming prostitutes. • The average age of female entry into prostitution is 12-14 years old; for males, it's 11-13 years old
Prostitution MythsThe Size of Sororities is Limited by Brothel Laws • Many colleges and universities have fewer sororities than fraternities. Often the explanation for the dearth of houses with female tenants is that brothel laws prevent groups of women from living together. • The number of female tenants supposedly barred by these laws changes — sometimes its four, or five, or seven, or eight tenants. • There are certain cities that have zoning laws on the books capping the number of nonfamily residents that may occupy a single dwelling. • In 2008, the Boston Zoning Commission ruled that no more than four college students may live together in off-campus housing. • Even so, a brothel gets its name from the goings-on between its walls, not the shared gender of its occupants.
Prostitution Myths Prostitution is Legal in Las Vegas • "Sin City" may have a deserved reputation for vices of all stripes, but the call girls found in Las Vegas (and Reno) are illegal. • But, Nevada is the friendliest in the country when it comes to the sex trade. • Prostitution in brothels was legalized in 1971. • It remains legal in 11 of the state's 17 counties with populations totaling fewer than 400,000 residents • The closest legal brothels to Vegas are about 60 miles west in Pahrump.