Prostitution: The Evolution Of The World's Oldest Profession

Submitted By excalibur469
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Prostitution: The Evolution of the World’s Oldest Profession Prostitution, by Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary, is clearly defined as the act of having sex in exchange for money. It is also the oldest profession in our civilization that still exists in today’s society with no end in sight. Perceptions and opinions of prostitution have changed dramatically from one extreme to another over the decades and even centuries. What was once accepted as a common if not glorified profession has slowly degenerated into one that is generally scoffed at today because women’s rights and equality have increased. Yet many women still belong to this profession, some by choice, and unfortunately many others by force. Prostitution has been a contributing factor to more serious issues that plague society such as human and sex trafficking, especially with underage females. Sex workers have been associated with sexually abusive childhoods, various forms of exploitation, drug and alcohol abuse among other negative connotations. So one would think that the natural way to combat the issue of prostitution as a whole is to criminalize it entirely, making it illegal to buy or sell sex as a service the same way it is with illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin right? Wrong. As prostitution evolves, so should government, law enforcement, and society’s methods of controlling it. Because prostitution will always exist, abolishing is near impossible. With a better understanding of prostitution from society, the evolution of the laws and enforcement surrounding it, and the need to socially develop sex workers who wish to remain in or exit their way of life, this world can truly co-exist with Canadian culture. In general, society has a particular perception of prostitution that is rather skewed and uneducated. The way that prostitution is depicted on television typically garners a negative reaction from people as it encompasses mostly street walkers dressed in scantily clad attire whilst a potential buyer or “john” approaches, usually by vehicle, to purchase sexual services. At times, although rarely, does television depict the use of higher class escorts, through agencies or privately via the internet, to convey a plot device about prostitution as it is not as blatantly obvious as the aforementioned street walker example. Society mostly believes that prostitution consists mainly of negative attributes and experiences for women. A 2002 study sampled a group of individuals arrested for soliciting sex from sex workers and it was found that “57% of their sample believed prostitution is dangerous, 45% believed that most prostitutes have a drug problem, 37% believed prostitutes are forced by pimps to engage in prostitution, and 29% believed most prostitutes enjoy what they do” (Morton, Klein, & Gorzalka, 2012, pg. 232). If potential buyers believe these types of statistics then imagine a conservative citizen’s view on prostitution. The lack of acceptance of prostitution as a legitimate profession, although at times understandable, is an albatross for the sex workers that goes far beyond reputation and self-esteem. The more prostitution is rejected, the more it is driven into the underbelly of society effectively making it a more dangerous life. This concept makes it extremely difficult for sex workers desiring to leave the profession to seek help. For sex workers who choose to remain because they entered the field of their own volition are afraid to seek out the same medical and social services that citizens on social assistance or who are unemployed have the benefit of receiving. In 2004, an advocate of prostitution awareness by the name of Dawn Hodgins stated “having lived within the trade myself for over a decade and having talked with hundreds of women formerly and currently involved in “the life”, I have heard countless stories of judgmental bedside manners by members of the medical profession. The bottom line is that many women across the country would like to