Essay on Human Trafficking vs. Prostitution: Is There a Difference?

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In today’s modern society, prostitution is defined as the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations, especially for money. Trafficking can be defined in terms of dealing or trading in something illegal (Merriam-Webster). In many cultures, prostitution is indeed illegal. So, is there a difference? Are there variances that set prostitution and human trafficking apart, or are they just different forms of the same industry? In order to answer this question, it is important to first understand the histories of both prostitution and human trafficking. Often dubbed “the world’s oldest profession”, prostitution can be found in the records of most major civilizations throughout human history. The first known reference to…show more content…
Italy, in turn, began opening government funded brothels in order to provide this vital service to the masses. In 1831, it is estimated that nearly 250,000 New Yorkers were working as prostitutes. Needless to say, prostitution had become a widespread and accepted practice ("A Brief History of Prostitution"). Though widely accepted throughout the course of human history, the approval of prostitution in today modern society seems to be a much more grey area. While once legal in every major civilization on earth, prostitution is now illegal in many countries, though sometimes tolerated for the revenue it generates. This cold shoulder toward prostitution began in the Middle Ages, when church officials began to preach of the sins associated with the profession. Their cries, however, fell on mostly deaf ears. Prostitution had become such a large contributor of public revenue in so many countries, that is was protected and regulated by law. In the centuries to come, however, things began to change. With the rise of stringent sexual morality standards associated with the Protestant Reformation, the increased transmission and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and the implementation of such social movements as feminism, prostitution began to fall out of favor, eventually becoming illegal in many parts of the world. (Jenkins). While the origins of human trafficking are murkier than

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