Encyclopedia of Sexuality and Gender

Living Edition
| Editors: Amy D. Lykins

Sex Work and Prostitution

  • Treena OrchardEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59531-3_15-1



Sex work and prostitution are terms that are often used interchangeably to refer to the exchange of sexual labor for money, other material items, or access to social resources. These exchanges may be independently generated, facilitated through a third party, or leveraged by industry stakeholders. Sex work and prostitution are as old as human society itself, and although often associated with women and girls, these systems of exchange involve people of all ages, genders, races, abilities, and sexual orientations. Typically considered to occur primarily in marginalized urban spaces or among underprivileged cultural groups, in reality sex work and prostitution take place everywhere: large cities, rural hamlets, suburban cul-de-sacs, institutional spaces (i.e., schools, prisons, hospitals,...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health StudiesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada