Is Prostitution a Social Issue

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History of Prostitution

Prostitution is considered to be the oldest profession in the world. According to Francoeur (2002), a number of Buddhist Jataka tales, whose oral sources go back to 500 B.C.E., concern sex workers. A 13th-century text on social conditions speaks of “vesya” (prostitutes). Women with extraordinarily beautiful could become socialized as prostitutes to serve the king. They would be trained in the “sixty-four womanly arts” and socialized to be cultured and provide sexual satisfaction to men of high rank. These women were treated as the ex-queens of the king and they were treated in a good manner provided with equal rights as all the other women sometimes more than the ordinary women. In villages sex workers had been involved on prostitution were only for fulfilling their basic needs.

In Buddhist literature there are many incidents which shows us that at that time the profession - prostitution had been happen. In the Lord Buddha Goutham’s era there had been prostitutes and we have heard about them in many therie gatha (Description of the life experiences of the arahant nuns). Sirima who had been a prostitute lived in that time and who had got the mercy of the Lord Buddha and at last attained to Nibbana. She was a prostitute who had been given her service to the princess and kings of that time. According to our understandings as to the Buddhist literature, we can understand that the sponsorship of the government had been given to the profession of prostitution. Prostitutes were treated well and they were given all the comfort to satisfy the sexual needs of the rich people However, eventhough they were placed in a higher position still the social recognition of them was also same as to the present. People recognize the prostitute as a woman to be disgusted. According to the Buddhist history it can be understood through another prostitute who is “Sundaree”. She was used to insult the great Lord Buddha by the Brahmins. Ambapali, turned in to a prostitute because of a sin which she had committed in her previous life by insulting to a nun calling vesya (prostitude) who was spiritually at a higher place. Accodring to Francoeur (2002), in ancient times and in some primitive societies, prostitution often had religious connotations sexual intercourse with temple maidens was an act of worship to the temple deity. In Greece the companions were often women of high social status, but in Rome the meretrices were on a low social level and were forced to wear wigs and special garments signifying their trade. In the middle Ages prostitution flourished and licensed brothels were a source of revenue to municipalities. Prostitution in Asia has been a serious problem for many years, mainly due to economic factors (i.e., poverty and unemployment) and custom. In countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, the problem is largely confined to urban areas. In India and Japan prostitution is fairly widespread in rural areas as well. In recent years most of these countries have made efforts to control prostitution by enacting legislative measures.

As the Prostitution had a very long history attempts to control that is also expand from many days before. Europe took efforts to stop prostitution as it resulted in sexually transmitted diseases in the 16th century. Brothels were closed throughout Western and Central Europe during 16th century, and strict punishment was given to those who engaged in prostitution. When these measures proved unsuccessful, many cities instituted even stricter controls than previous. Berlin required medical inspection in 1700; Paris began to register its prostitutes in 1785. During late 19th century efforts were made to control the international traffic in women for the purpose of prostitution. Cooperation on an international scale to stamp out such traffic began in 1899 with a congress in London. This was followed by other conferences in Amsterdam (1901), London (1902), and Paris...
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