A life of prostitution is a choice for some and an obligation for others. Prostitution has been found to largely work out for people who willingly and voluntarily go into it, but for those who are forced into it or would rather not be doing it, it is known to leave deep emotional, mental, physical and circumstantial scars. For those who feel safe and comfortable as prostitutes, they have the option of remaining in their profession. But those who want out should always be granted the opportunity to leave. For some, finding a way out is very difficult due to the psychological and financial effects it has on people, which is why there are shelters, rehabs and counseling services available to recovering prostitutes.
Shelters are likely the strongest necessity that recovering prostitutes need, and those who require them usually do so in desperation. Unlike an addiction treatment center, a prostitution recovery center focuses on recovery from trauma and adversity. Prostitution can result in a very volatile way of life for many people. Some circumstances can even lead to mortal danger. The line of work that prostitutes are in lead to many encounters with shady people and individuals living on the fringe of society. Customers, managers, pimps and other people from their circle can be a very rough group of people who have little to no respect for prostitutes and may severely mistreat them. The fear and abuse impressed on a number of prostitutes leaves them incapable of navigating the world on their own, which is why shelters are essential to their recovery.
In the same sense, counseling and rehabilitation services are available to recovering prostitutes as well. Living as a prostitute can be a very hard life. Apart from the stigma of being a prostitute and the emotional damage it can wreak, the sex industry can also cause or enhance mental illness, substance abuse, addiction and disease. Professional counselors and rehabilitation professionals may be necessary to help the recovering prostitute regain their sense of self.
Prostitutes work in their industry for a variety of reasons. Some people who work as prostitutes want to be in their industry and some do not. This blog certainly recognizes that not all prostitutes are victims, and many choose the life of a prostitute for sound economical reasons or as an expression of their sexual identity. However, it has also been observed and studied that prostitution does commonly have damaging effects on prostitutes. Not in every case, but on the whole, prostitutes are more likely to suffer physical, mental and circumstantial hardships due to their profession than other professionals.
Physically, prostitutes are more susceptible to disease and violence than other professionals. Disease, of course, is often in the form of sexually transmitted disease, but can also be any other transmittable disease that is acquired through close proximity to a diseased person. Prostitutes are also at a higher risk of being the victims of violent crimes. Police forces statistically are less able to defend prostitutes than other citizens because of the shady, intimate situations they end up in.
Prostitutes commonly experience more mental and emotional hardships than other professionals. This is largely because prostitution is heavily entrenched in stigmas. Prostitutes are often thought of as the lowest rung on the societal ladder. The opinions, stereotypes and judgments placed on prostitutes can be cruel, abusive, unjust and largely inaccurate. These stigmas result in feelings of degradation, powerlessness and worthlessness. It is also common for a prostitute to have abusive relationships in their life.
And lastly, a prostitute’s life circumstances are often very disadvantaged. Disadvantage is often one of the reasons people choose a life of prostitution. It is rare that a person desires to be a prostitute. Most prostitutes enter the sex industry because they need the money. Sadly, prostitution leads to very few opportunities. It more often leads to more disadvantage than it does to prosperity.
The lives of prostitutes are not easy ones. There is hardly one type of prostitute. Prostitutes are individuals who range immensely in who they are as people. Some professional prostitutes are in the sex industry by choice while others were forced into it. Some want to be there, some are prostituting out of necessity and some want out of the industry all together. The only consistent commonality between prostitutes is that they have sex for a living, but who they are as people and why they are prostitutes ranges a great deal.
There are many professional prostitutes who are in the sex industry willingly, by their own choice. This includes people who enjoy their line of work and people who choose to cope with its hardships for the money. A vast majority of professional prostitutes have been found to be the latter. A small percentage are there because they enjoy their work while a majority of those who prostitute themselves willingly do so strictly for the money and nothing else.
Then there are those who prostitute themselves because they feel like they have no other choice. This is not to say they are being forced into it in the truest sense of the word, but rather their low self esteem, desperate life circumstances or a bullying pimp is telling them that they need to stay. This is a form of victimization over a prostitute because, like any job, prostitutes should always feel safe and free to move on from their profession whenever they want.
And the last type of prostitute – the one that is a true tragedy and illegality – is the prostitute who has been forced into their line of work. This quite literally means they are abducted or raised into a life of prostitution. They were either sold or abducted as children into the sex trade and therefore psychologically conditioned to belong to it, or they were kidnapped and drugged, then sold into prostitution against their will. This is a violation against human rights in every sense of the term and needs to be treated as such globally.
Prostitution is often called the oldest profession in the world for how far back it dates, and it has always been a highly controversial subject. Some people believe that it should be universally legalized, claiming that it would regulate the sex industry, protect the prostitutes from abuse and disease and keep the industry out of the black market. The truth is, the profession of prostitution is an inherently destructive one. There is no way to sell sex and not do damage to the women who are sold. Making a living selling one’s body can only lead to low self-image, degradation, objectification and feelings of worthlessness.
Studies reveal that money is overwhelmingly the deciding factor that influences women toward a life of prostitution. Some have a history of sexual abuse while others claim that their own personal sexuality influenced them toward prostitution. Regardless, prostitution is never described as a first choice. It is always a choice made in desperation.
The reason women do not desire to be prostitutes is because the profession oversteps the inherent boundary every person has around the right to control of their own body, and to choose who they become physically intimate with. By becoming a prostitute, women are handing over control of their body to their pimp and their johns. Surrendering control of one’s body strips them of power that their human rights entitle them to. It is unnatural and detrimental, resulting in feelings of powerlessness, worthlessness and degradation.
Fortunately, for women who are ready to leave the sex industry and regain their dignity, there are medical institutions and mental health professionals who are prepared to assist former prostitutes in their recovery. Prostitution can cause years of mental damage and emotional scarring, and some women are not capable of recovering on their own. Many require the services of a shelter, rehabilitation center or professional counselor.