Tuesday, October 13, 2009

America’s Worst Job is the World’s Oldest Profession.

I pulled out an old paper I'd written for an English class last year, and thought I would share with you what I consider to be the worst job in the US. I deleted my footnotes and bibliography.

It is known as the world’s oldest and most secretive profession— a service exceptionally popular, nonetheless very taboo. Prostitution has been around for thousands of years, and remains to this day an unacceptable means of income in the United States. Though prostitution has been legalized in some parts of the world, it is only permissible in Rhode Island and certain counties of Nevada. In order to consider prostitution as one of the worst jobs of the United States, it is important to focus on the reasons why women choose to be prostitutes, the risks they face, and the working conditions.


The first documentation of female prostitution dates back to 2400 BCE in Sumer. Located in Ancient Mesopotamia, the Sumerian records listed prostitution as a profession that was closely associated with temple service. Throughout the millennia, women have continued with this ancient line of work, and have been victims to new obstacles. Due to the nature of the work, it has become increasingly difficult to accurately document the number of prostitutes and customers. Most studies and samples are obtained through jail accounts, STD clinics and rehabilitation centers, but lack validity and reliability. According to a post made on Western Michigan University’s website, “Prostitution often begins in adolescence and is characterized by runaway behavior, general delinquency…”. No education or skill is required for this occupation, with a study revealing that 81% of prostitutes had not earned a high school diploma, and that nearly half had no prior work history.

Most women fall into the trap of prostitution for a few reasons, including but not limited to economic need, pressure from others, having been a victim of early childhood sexual abuse, and the need to support a drug habit. As a result of these hardships, women with limited education and minimal work experience see prostitution as a way to succeed when there are no other possibilities available.

Unlike other conventional jobs, prostitution is prone to health risks and violence. It is a misconception that prostitution is a leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases. “Prostitutes are most at risk from transmission occurring from personal relationships.” The U.S. Department of Health has concluded that sexually transmitted diseases account for only 3-5% of cases, indicating that prostitutes are not significant carriers of HIV. On the other hand, the biggest problem a prostitute may face is physical violence. Women are most likely to be abused by their clients, accounting for 60% of mistreatment, followed by police authority and domestic partners. These types of violence acts include being mutilated, kidnapped, threatened with a weapon, and thrown from a vehicle. Drug use is also common amongst prostitutes, with crack-cocaine being the most prevalent type. Prostitutes may use drugs “as a way of coping with the act of prostitution… or as a means of supporting a drug habit”. As a result, about 70% of prostitutes are or will become addicted to drugs.

There are many different types of prostitutions, which occur in brothels, bars and clubs. Call girls at escort agencies and higher end prostitutes are better looking, younger and healthier. Brothels provide a safer environment for both the client and prostitute with better security. Street prostitution is the most demeaning sector of this illicit business. Most prostitutes are controlled by a pimp and have very little protection once roaming the streets. Salaries for prostitute vary sufficiently since “reliable representative data on earnings in prostitution are difficult to obtain.” A study claims that prostitutes are well paid as they draw their comparison analysis against low-skilled service workers. Back in 1990, a prostitute’s average salary was $23,845, which would be $35,000 by today’s standards.

While it is impossible to determine the number of prostitutes who currently work, or have worked in the past, the National Task Force on Prostitution proposed that over 1 million people in the United States have taken part of this lucrative business. In conclusion, the reason why prostitution is one of the worst jobs results from its high turnover of new workers, its unsafe working conditions, and demeaning ideology.





1 comment:

  1. In some ways I agree with those who feel that prostitution is a victimless crime, and therefore the police should just let it go on. But then I realize what prostitution brings into various neighborhoods...often with prostitution comes drugs... But I do question if it's the world's OLDEST profession, although we always hear that. Seems there were carpenters and farmers before there were prostitutes?

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