"When Amnesty International last year called for the decriminalization of the global sex trade, reaction from all sides was swift and passionate. Those in agreement argued this kind of policy serves to protect sex workers the world over. On the other side: the voices of those who called it a monumental mistake, allowing criminal and exploitative practices against women who may have no way out of the sex trade. As the debate has grown, new reporting is underscoring the deep ideological divide that has emerged between feminists on either side of this issue. We look at the debate over decriminalizing prostitution." Listen to the Diane Rehm Show and Read the transcript.
Prostitution is defined as "the act or practice of engaging in sexual activity for money or its equivalent" (Garner 1999, p. 1238). Except for parts of Nevada, it is a criminal act in the United States. Prostitutes are also referred to as commercial or public sex workers. It is estimated that over 92,000 men, women, and juveniles are arrested yearly for prostitution (FBI, 2000). The number of juveniles engaging in prostitution is estimated at between 100,000 and 300,000 per year.
Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual services for money or another form of material compensation. The main reason for becoming a prostitute is economic: the need for income among individuals who lack other job opportunities or believe they can earn more from prostitution than from a conventional job.
Weitzer, Ronald. "Prostitution." Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender. Ed. Fedwa Malti-Douglas. Vol. 3. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 1202-1206. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 May 2016