In his intriguing book “Legalizing Prostitution,” sociologist Ronald Weitzer analyzes the six most frequent sorts of prostitutes and where they work.
Weitzer’s book examines both authorized and illicit prostitution in different nations, concluding that some sex work is better for women than others. Here are the six categories of prostitution that Weitzer adopted from Richard Symanski’s book “Immoral Landscape: Female Prostitution in Western Societies.”
Independent Escort/Call Girl
Independent escorts work for themselves in hotels and private locations such as residences, charging exorbitant fees and staying out of sight of the general population. They most likely market their services online, and because they are self-employed, they get to retain their revenues.
An employee of an Escort Agency
Employees of escort agencies, like independent call girls, operate in private homes or hotels and demand rather hefty fees. (For $4,300 a night, ex-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer slept with an escort agency employee named Ashley Dupré.) According to Weitzer, these employees experience “moderate exploitation” because they must contribute a portion of their profits to their agencies.
An employee at a brothel
Weitzer defines brothels as “designated locations where people pay for sex” that may include saunas and massage parlors. He claims that the fees they charge are “reasonable,” and that brothel workers face “moderate exploitation” since they must provide a portion of their profits to the brothel owners. In some areas of Nevada, licensed brothels are legal.
This sort of prostitution is common in Amsterdam, with women publicly displayed in windows encouraging passerby to visit houses of prostitution. Here’s an amazing description of window work by Weitzer, which pays women a low-to-moderate income.
Almost all of the window rooms in Amsterdam are single occupancy, separating workers from one another. Some rooms are linked to a restroom and kitchen shared by multiple employees, but the women spend the majority of their time alone in front of the windows. In contrast, workers in brothels might enjoy a party atmosphere and regular social contact with other providers, staff, and customers.
Worker in a bar or casino
These sex workers make initial contact with men in a bar or casino before having sex in a different place. Weitzer adds that in Thailand, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic, men pay “bar fees” to leave a club with a worker and spend several days with her. During that period, the men (typically foreigners) pay the women’s costs, an arrangement that often confers status on the prostitute. The women are paid a low-to-moderate wage.
Weitzer writes that streetwalkers make little money and are prone to exploitation. Not surprisingly, they are less satisfied with their jobs and are paid less than “interior prostitutes” (bar workers, brothel workers, or call girls).
Streetwalking is likewise a high-risk activity. According to one study, prostitutes in Colorado Springs were 18 times more likely to be murdered than other women their age. Some experts believe that legalizing prostitution worldwide, as it is in the Netherlands, parts of Mexico, and parts of Nevada, is the only way to make it safer and less stigmatized.