Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Commercial Sex Industry
Amanda Jill Johnston
Prostitution is defined as “the act or practice of indulging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money” (Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary ). Often referred to as the oldest profession, prostitution has existed throughout history and across cultures. Written reference to prostitutes can be found as far back as the Babylonian period in 2400 BCE. Although both prostitution and the act of soliciting a prostitute are illegal in every state in America except Nevada, the existence of a commercial sex industry in the United States cannot be denied. Although this article focuses on prostitution, it is important to note that pornography, phone sex, mail order brides, and exotic dancing all contribute to the profits of the commercial sex industry. According to a 2000 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report, profits from the global sex industry have reached $7 billion per year. Although many sex workers and their customers argue that prostitution is a ...