A prostitute is defined by the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary as "a person who offers herself / himself for sexual intercourse for money." Legally, Prostitution is the sale of sexual services. The services may consist of any sexual acts, including those which do not involve copulation. While payment may be any nonsexual consideration, most commonly it is in the form of money.
In what seems to be a world historical pattern, an upsurge in prostitution followed the effects of urbanization and wage labor. In Africa and Latin America this trend was heightened by industrial development, which greatly accelerated extensive displacement of people from traditional kinship ties. Women often supplemented their low wages with occasional prostitution, or, in the absence of employment, turned to prostitution as full-time work.
Although a persistent phenomenon throughout human history, it remains difficult to view prostitution in an objective light as various cultures have alternately tried to ban it on religious or moralistic grounds, or stigmatize it under a "don't-ask-don't-tell" sort of veneer which was a barely-tolerated but necessary evil of society. It is interesting to note that despite an increasingly secularized attitude towards sexual relationships, as seen in society's increasing tolerance of homosexuality or pre-marital sex, prostitution retains much of its social stigma.
TYPES OF PROSTITUTION
Street prostitution is the most common form of prostitution. It occurs when the prostitute solicits customers while waiting at street corners or walking alongside a street usually dressed in skimpy, suggestive clothing. This can be seen on Koinage Street in Nairobi.
A variation of this is where prostitution is more open and solicitation is done at bars. Examples of this in Kenya can be seen at Florida 2000, Modern Green on Latema Road and Sabina Joy Bar and restaurant.
Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution and are usually confined to red-light districts in big cities. The clients usually go to these brothels to get sexual services. Escort or out-call prostitution often shelters under the umbrella of escort agencies, who supply attractive escorts for social occasions. In this form of prostitution the customer calls/contacts an agency and the act takes place at the client's residence or hotel room.
THE DIFFERENT VIEWS ON PROSTITUTION
There are many views on how countries can handle prostitution. Abolition is a view that prostitution is immoral and prostitutes and their clients should be prosecuted. This view calls for the complete removal of all prostitution activity within a community, and making all associated activities illegal in the eyes of the law.
Regulation, on the other hand, allows prostitution to be considered a legitimate business or at least an unavoidable evil; thus prostitution and empowerment of prostitutes are legal, but regulated in terms of health, location of practice, etc.
Legalization sees prostitution as a victimless crime and should be made completely legal so that it is no longer an underground activity, allowing the normal checks and balances of society and existing laws to apply.
Decriminalization acknowledges that prostitution is inevitable, but exploitative; thus measures should be put in place to protect prostitutes i.e. laws should target violent pimps and traffickers but not the prostitutes.
UTILITARIAN VS DEONTOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON PROSTITUTION
Utilitarianism seeks the greatest good for the greatest number of people. They believe that they should make decisions that result in the greatest total utility, that is, achieve the greatest benefit for all those affected by a decision. Utilitarian decision making relies on a systematic comparison of the costs and benefits to all affected parties. (Ferrel et al: 2005, p.98)
In the case of prostitution, a utilitarian would conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess...
References: • Ferrell et al. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases, 6th Ed. (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2005)
• Snow Joyce, The Prostitute 's Collective of Victoria. The Age, 28th Feb. 1999
• Brothel Boom: The Asian Connection, Sydney. Morning Herald, 31st Aug. 1999
• Liberator, Mark (Dec 21st 2004). Legalized Prostitution: Regulating the Oldest Profession. Available at: http://www.liberator.net/articles/prostitution.html
• Laubenfels de, John (Aug 20th 2002). Defending Prostitution. Available at: http://www.strike-the-root.com/columns/deLaubenfels/delaubenfels25.html
• The Economist (Sep 2nd 2004). Sex is their Business. Available at: http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3151258
• Karuoya Njoki, The Nation, 18th Dec., 1999
• Davis Karin, Associated Press, 18th Nov. 1997
• Kwamechetsi Makokha, The Nation, 20th Oct. 2000
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