Often deemed as the oldest profession in the world, prostitution has been the topic of many debates over the years. It is the practice of performing sexual activities on someone in exchange for money or sometimes, any other goods and services. Usually, the person who performs the sexual activity and receives the payment, called the prostitute or sex worker, is a woman. Due to this, prostitution has been a hot topic among feminists for many years, which will be discussed further later in the article.

In his book called “Legalizing Prostitution”, prominent sociologist Ronald Weitzer lists down six different types of prostitutes, and how and where they work.

  • Escorts/Independent call girls These are often high-class independent sex workers, escorting men to events. Escorts work discreetly in hotels and other private buildings, usually have high rates, and keep their professional life away from the public.
  • Escort Agency employees These are escorts who operate under an agency. Like independent escorts, they too work discreetly in hotels and other private locations. They charge high prices but since they have to give a portion of their earnings to the agencies, Weitzer says they are “moderately exploited”.
  • Brothel employees Brothels are designated places where people come for paid sexual activities from prostitutes/sex workers. They can also include massage parlors and saunas. Moderately priced, the sex workers here must give a portion of the money they make to the brothel owners.
  • Casino/bar workers This kind of sex workers are “picked up” by men from bars and casinos and they engage in sexual activities in a different location like hotels. These sex workers earn relatively low to moderate salaries.
  • Window workers This kind of sex workers are most commonly found in Amsterdam, where they display themselves in glass windows, tempting people on the streets to enter such prostitution houses. Their pay is low to moderate.
  • Streetwalkers These sex workers have the most risk of exploitation, and not only in terms of money or sexual assault but even to the extent of murder. As a result, they have relatively lower job satisfaction.

Is prostitution all bad?

While some believe that every individual has the right to do whatever they wish with their bodies, others argue that prostitutes are easy prey for exploitation and even unsafe, non-consensual sex. These two contrasting views often divide feminists as well as liberals. On the other hand, conservatives believe that prostitution is immoral and sinful.

It should be noted that many sex workers have reported high job satisfaction, flexibility in their working hours and rates, which they say have good earning potential. They believe that it is no more exploitative and different than other unskilled labor. But at the same time, there are many who are forced into this industry and desperately want to get out.