Terms often used instead of prostitute include commercial sex worker or sex trade worker. A hooker or streetwalker solicits customers in public places; a call girl makes appointments by phone. Other terms such as whore in English carry strong pejorative overtones.
Locations of Prostitution
Prostitution can occur in a brothel, on the street, or in the private dwelling of a client or a prostitute.
Prostitution and the Law
There is intense debate surrounding the legalisation of prostitution in a number of countries. Full legalisation involves prostitution taking the same status as any other occupation, i.e. giving sex workers access to social security and healthcare, regulating their places and terms of employment. In many EU countries, it is not a criminal offence to work as a prostitute. In the United Kingdom, for example, prostitution is not illegal however the laws serve to make providing sex in exchange for money difficult and dangerous. Soliciting, streetwalking and brothels are illegal. Kerb crawling is illegal in most of the UK but different laws apply in Scotland. These laws are under review and a draft bill is in the process of consultation. These laws firmly place the criminality of prostitution on the women rather than the client. In France, prostitution is not illegal but kerbcrawling is. Procuring (also known as pimping) is also illegal. A prostitute is the only one person who can use the money she earns.
Trafficking and Prostitution
Due to the illegal and underground nature of sex trafficking (also known as sex slavery), the exact extent of women and children forced into prostitution is unknown. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the problem is especially alarming in Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and India. Over 75% of sex workers in Germany are migrants. Between 60% and 80% of the women trafficked into Germany come from eastern Europe, Russia or the New Independent States.
An estimated 1 million children are forced into prostitution across the world. In eastern Europe, prostitution has become a way of making fast money, and the child sex industry is thriving with the increasing numbers of Western tourists. A link has been established in some places between prostitution and pornography - particularly involving children - and the
promotion and growth of tourism.
Prostitution Laws in the United Kingdom
The Home Office Affairs Minister, Jacqui Smith, announced changes to prostitution laws in the United Kingdom on 19 May 2009. Follow this external link for up-to-date debates on the changes: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/prostitution
- Movie "Taken", 2008, directed by Pierre Morel (France)
- European Parliament, Traffiking in Women, Civil Liberties Series, (2000)