Prostitution is "the oldest profession in the world" and one fraught with a tumultuous history. Attitudes toward prostitution have not significantly changed since Mary Magdalene walked the streets; it has often been documented in literature and art as a necessary evil Although "actively prohibited, tacitly condoned, formally regulated, or a combination of these," prostitution remains a thriving industry regardless of its legal status. Currently, countries are considering amending their legal approaches toward prostitution, not only for the health and safety of the prostitutes and those who utilize their services, but also to profit from the revenue generated by the profession.
Jessica N. Drexler, Governments' Role in Turning Tricks: The World's Oldest Profession in the Netherlands and the United States, 15 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 201 (1996).