Prostitution: “The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.”

The definition cannot go deep in all the facets of this phenomenon.

In our society the word prostitution encompasses different meanings: it could range from the voluntary use of the body for sexual performance to the imposed one. From the adult body exploitation to the children one. From the abuse of female body to the abuse of male one.

It can be legal as illegal. Can be socially accepted or socially refused. In any case, it is sure that prostitution is a phenomenon that concerns the entire World.

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This article will overview the sexual exploitation of prostitution. It can be defined as a practice by which a person achieves sexual gratification or financial gain through the abuse of a person’s sexuality by abrogating the right to dignity, equality and physical and mental well-being of the other person.

It is estimated that there are 13,265,900 forced prostitutes around the World. China (5,000,000), India (3,000,000) and USA (1,000,000) account for almost 70% of the entire sexual trade.

For a prostitute the body has lost its holiness and has become a tool by which a third party makes money.

In the dark World of prostitution, the prices differ due to the quality of the merchandise established by the exploiter. A HIV woman in Greece is worth 15$, a virgin girl in Colombia 200$, in Mali the body is sold for only 2$. The tariffs change according to the age, ethnicity, location and contraceptive used. The revenue of this trade can reach $180 billion annually.

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The link between human trafficking and prostitution is undeniable. Many individuals involved in the sex trade meet the definition of a victim of trafficking.

Different studies on sexual exploitation have agreed that 80% of the interviewed gave an indication that they were in prostitution due to some degree of force, such as kidnapping or violence by a pimp.

A large power imbalance exists in the act of prostitution. The act of prostitution requires an individual involved in the sex trade to submit to the demands of the exploiter. Refusing these demands usually leads to physical and sexual violence against the person who is being prostituted. Beating, torturing and raping are the most common violence used against those who want to take back the rights of their bodies. In another study, 80% of the prostituted women reported being physically assaulted by their customers, and 75% reported regular beatings by their pimps.

Moreover, women, men and children involved in prostitution, whether the prostitution takes place indoors or on the street, suffer from high rates of mental and physical health problems, including strong forms of depression, frequent viral illness, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), vaginal infections, backaches, eating disorders and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It is estimated that a woman’s average life expectancy is only seven years after the date of entry into prostitution, with HIV/AIDS and homicide being the main causes of death.

Despite these studies and abuses, prostitution is not treated as a violation of human rights by the United Nation (UNHR), except in the case of prostituted children.


Francesco Stefani


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