Prostitution is the purchase of sexual services for money. Houses of prostitution are called brothels; the chief female hostess is called a "madam". Agents, managers, dealers and promoters of prostitution and prostitutes are "pimps". The Bible in general holds prostitution in contempt, but Rahab the harlot is redeemed for receiving two spies from Joshua and allowing them to escape their pursuers.
In the United States, prostitution is legal in the state of Nevada but heavily regulated, and outlawed elsewhere. Most libertarians consider prostitution to be a victimless crime, and thus do not think it should be regulated. However, Ronald Reagan said:
- Prostitution has been listed as a nonvictim crime. Well, is anyone naive enough to believe that prostitution just depends on willing employees coming in and saying that’s the occupation they want to practice? It doesn’t.
A study by Dr. Melissa Farley points out the following statistics:
- 78% of 55 women who sought help in 1991 from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in Portland, Oregon reported being raped an average of 16 times a year by pimps, and were raped 33 times a year by johns.
- 73% reported having experienced physical assault in prostitution.
- 72% were currently or formerly homeless.
- 92% stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately.
- 75% of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide.
- 67% meet diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Estimates of the prevalence of incest among prostitutes range from 65% to 90%. The Council for Prostitution Alternatives 10 found that 85% of their prostitute clients reported a history of sexual abuse in childhood, while 70% reported incest.
Prostitution in the Old Testament
In the Law of Moses, prostitution is forbidden to the daughters of priests in the Aaronic order and it is forbidden for priests to marry a prostitute. However, Rahab (a prostitute) would assist the Israelites in their conquest of Jericho, and ultimately enter the lineage of Jesus Christ.