Sign up for our newsletter
Get health tips, wellness advice, and more

Thanks for signing up!
You've been added to our list and will hear from us soon.

See all Healthline's newsletters »
Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Health Concerns of Prostitutes

The legal status of prostitutes is complex - they work outside the law. Are they victims or are the activities they participate in so-called victimless crimes? When the prostitute is a consenting adult earning (at times substantial) compensation for participation in activities, is the prostitute being exploited?

If nothing else, the case of Governor Spitzer makes it clear there are willing workers in the prostitution trade. As such, should they be afforded the same benefits and protections as any other laborer? We need to remove the blinders from our eyes and evaluate prostitution differently in order to address the health care needs of these special groups. There are voluntary prostitutes who enter into prostitution by choice and those who are coerced and trafficked involuntarily, especially minors, are in particular need of human-rights protections.

A study in Australia found that the incidence of STD's was 80 times higher in illegal street walkers than their counterparts working in legal brothels. In legal brothels, the use of condoms is compulsory and periodic health evaluations are employee benefits. One aspect of the health care needs of prostitutes I would like to see addressed, though, is the psychological effect - long term and short term. Is it a high stress occupation? Are workers at risk for PTSD? Clearly, further study is needed.

Thank you Emily's mind for use of photo It's been the ruin of many a poor girl...
  • 1
Was this article helpful? Yes No

About the Author

The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.