FAQs about Prostitution :

Q: Isn’t prostitution is a choice?

A: Most women fall into prostitution because they have no other means to support themselves or their children and it is a last resort to survive. A large number of them have histories of childhood sexual abuse and have been introduced into prostitution as juveniles. Many of the women also sell themselves to support their addictions and come from impoverished backgrounds. It is not truly a choice and the vast majority of women would exit prostitution if they had viable options. While occasionally we read of women involved in prostitution who have high levels of education and valued and marketable job skills, these women are the exception. Most women would much rather be earning a living in some other way and would gladly leave prostitution.

Q: Isn’t prostitution a job like any other?

A: No. Prostitution is not a job like any other nor is it the world’s oldest profession as it does not meet the criteria regarding what constitutes a profession. What other jobs or professions expose their employees to the risks of being abused, exposed to disease, humiliated, physically hurt or even murdered? What type of real employment does not offer benefits of any kind and requires women to be arrested for doing their job? What type of work does not have regular and consistent work hours and treats it employees as objects and property? When asked what they’d like to be when they grow up, how many little girls say they’d like to be a prostitute?

Q: Isn’t prostitution a necessary evil?

A: No. Just because prostitution has a long history does not mean that it should continue to exist as a necessary evil. Prostitution and human sex trafficking are a violation of people’s human rights. Putting vulnerable people into the position of being harmed and traumatized, thinking that it is ok to do because they are being paid, is a violation of that person’s right to life, liberty and freedom from harm.

Q: Won’t the women be safer if prostitution is legalized?

A: No, not necessarily. Even in brothels where prostitution is legalized, there are still panic buttons for women to use when they are being threatened or assaulted. And there are still the emotional risks and higher rates of dissociation and numerous physical and medical risks that women are exposed to- such as STIs, HIV, pregnancy, and various contagious diseases. In countries where prostitution has been legalized or decriminalized there is no overwhelming evidence which supports women being safer as a result.

Q: Wouldn’t sexual assault decrease if prostitution were legalized?

A: No. Even though not legal in many places, prostitution does exist and in fact is thriving. However, the existence of prostitution, legal or not, has no impact on decreasing sexual assault and rape. In fact, some sources suggest that much like pornography, which is legal, prostitution is linked to increased cases of sexual assault. Simply stated, women continue to be assaulted and violated in every location where prostitution is legal.

Q: Aren’t men who pay for sex helping the women to survive?

A: No. What they are doing is helping to dig the hole deeper for the women they buy. If they really wanted to help a woman they pay to have sex with they could give her a real job with benefits. They could give her money to learn a trade. They could pay for her treatment to get off drugs. They could offer to take her to a shelter so she could start to get her life together. They could enact laws and policies which would fund programs to help women get back on their feet and stay there. They could make harsher laws and penalties for people who sexually abuse and assault young girls in our country and create more residential treatment programs to help girls who have been sexually, emotionally and physically abused.

Q: What can I do to help?

A: Take a stand. You could begin by informing yourself about all sides of the issue through reading books and articles. While what is posted here under the resources and links tab is opposed to prostitution, you can find much material on the internet in favor of prostitution or email us to get more information. Check out what resources are in your community, such as through women’s organizations, nursing programs, prisons and jails, social work organizations, churches and domestic violence organizations. You can volunteer, be politically active, and/or donate your time and money. You can always email us at Project Phoenix for more information on how you can help.