In the UK, the Sexual Offences Act (1956) defined prostitution (i.e. exchanging sexual services for money) as a matter of ‘private morality’ and so not subject to criminal law, although it criminalized most associated activities (such as loitering, soliciting and brothel-keeping). Hence, it is legally possible to sell sex in the UK but all the avenues through which the exchange might take place are, to a lesser or greater extent, illegal.
   Explanations for women’s involvement in prostitution have included pathologizing explanations, economic explanations, and explanations which focus on male power and male violence. Pathologizing explanations constitute involvement in prostitution as a result of some social or psychological deficiency. Economic explanations focus on the dynamic provided by gendersegregated labour markets which, consequently, constitutes prostitution as a form of economic activity offering women a way out of their poverty relative to men. Male violence and male power explanatory models understand prostitution as a manifestation of men’s power over and control of women’s sexuality and the acceptability of male sexual violence (linked to pornography). Discussion on prostitution from the 1960s onwards has focused on the issues of increasing punitive sanctions, decriminalization or legalization. A growth in neighbourhood vigilantism towards prostitution was noted in the mid-1990s, when members of local communities that were effected by street prostitution took it upon themselves to ‘drive prostitution out’ of their area by various high-profile strategies (such as using video cameras to record both the women working and their clients). These groups were concerned with the ‘nuisance’ prostitution causes such as the ‘kerb-crawling’ of local women not involved in prostitution, noise and associated criminal activity (such as drug dealing). In contrast, groups such as the English Collective of Prostitutes have argued for decriminalization wherein any and all legal proscriptions against prostitution are removed.
   With this, it is claimed that the stigma against prostitutes will eventually disappear and women involved in prostitution will be afforded legal recourse to the violences they may suffer and protection against exploitation.
   Against these two positions, various police forces and interested agencies have suggested legalizing prostitution. Women involved in prostitution would work within registered, inspected and regulated brothels, parlours, zones of tolerance and so on. It is argued that this will provide the women and clients with a healthy working environment and reduce the level of financial exploitation of prostitutes.
   See also: censorship
   Further reading
    McLeod, E. (1982) Women Working: Prostitution Now, London, Croom Helm.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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, , , / (on the part of a woman, for hire),

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  • PROSTITUTION — (Heb. זְנוּת, zenut), the practice of indiscriminate sexual intercourse for payment or for religious purposes. Prostitution was practiced by male and female prostitutes. The word zenut, applied to both common and sacred prostitution, is also… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • prostitution — pros·ti·tu·tion /ˌpräs tə tü shən, tyü / n: the act or practice of engaging in sexual activity indiscriminately esp. for money; also: the crime of engaging in such activity Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. prosti …   Law dictionary

  • Prostitution — Pros ti*tu tion, n. [L. prostitutio: cf. F. prostitution.] 1. The act or practice of prostituting or offering the body to an indiscriminate intercourse with men; common lewdness of a woman. [1913 Webster] 2. The act of setting one s self to sale …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prostitution — Sf erw. fach. (18. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus frz. prostitution, dieses aus l. prōstitūtio ( ōnis) Preisgabe zu sexuellen Handlungen , zu l. prōstituere für sexuelle Handlungen öffentlich preisgeben , zu l. statuere hinstellen , zu l. sistere… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

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  • Prostitution — (v. lat.), 1) die öffentliche Hin od. Ausstellung; 2) die Preisgabe seiner Person zu niedrigem Zweck, bes. 3) die Selbsthingabe eines Frauenzimmers in gewerbsmäßiger Unzucht. Die große Verbreitung, welche die P. in neuerer Zeit namentlich in den… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

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  • Prostitution — Prostitutiōn (lat.), Preisgebung, bes. die gewerbsmäßige Selbstpreisgebung eines Frauenzimmers (einer Prostituierten) zur Unzucht. Schon im Altertum erwähnt bei Juden, Babyloniern, Phöniziern, Persern (meist mit religiösem Kultus verbunden), bei… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • prostitution — (n.) 1550s, from L.L. prostitutionem, noun of action from pp. stem of prostituere (see PROSTITUTE (Cf. prostitute)) …   Etymology dictionary

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