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A literal translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place forward".The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one 'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered.'" The word prostitute was then carried down through various languages to the present-day Western society.The word "prostitution" can also be used metaphorically to mean debasing oneself or working towards an unworthy cause or "selling out". For the sake of the longed alliance with imperialist democracies [Stalin] has brought the Comintern to the last stages of political prostitution." Besides targeting political figures, the term is used in relation to organizations and even small countries, which "have no choice but to sell themselves", because their voice in world affairs is insignificant.In this sense, "prostituting oneself" or "whoring oneself" the services or acts performed are typically not sexual. In 2007, a Russian caricature depicted the Baltic states as three "ladies of the night", "vying for the attentions of Uncle Sam, since the Russian client has run out of money".Clients of prostitutes are sometimes known as johns or tricks in North America and punters in the British Isles.These slang terms are used among both prostitutes and law enforcement for persons who solicit prostitutes.Most sex worker activists groups reject the word prostitute and since the late 1970s have used the term sex worker instead.
In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris–Euphrates river system there were many shrines and temples or "houses of heaven" dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories As early as the 18th century BC, ancient Mesopotamia recognized the need to protect women's property rights.
Prostitution is one branch of the sex industry, along with pornography, stripping, and erotic dancing.
The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country (sometimes from region to region within a given country), ranging from being permissible but unregulated, to an enforced or unenforced crime, or a regulated profession.
In the Code of Hammurabi, provisions were found that addressed inheritance rights of women, including female prostitutes.
According to Zohar and the Alphabet of Ben Sira, there were four angels of sacred prostitution, who mated with archangel Samael.Depending on the jurisdiction, prostitution law may deem commercial sex to be legal or illegal.