In the world of feminism there is nothing more controversial than sex workers (aka escorts, prostitutes, hookers, whores, hoes, whatever word you choose to use). Abortion is a close 2nd.
Why is prostitution so controversial?
Well, because its underground and highly unregulated. Its difficult to say how many "sex workers" there are in the world or in a particular country, but its safe to assume that the conservative estimates are highly inaccurate.
Many feminists argue prostitution should be kept illegal, but policing it doesn't solve the problem. Regulating helps, but the only true cure is education and a strong economy. (And even a strong economy has a downside, as you will see below.)
Below: The legal status of prostitution globally.
In Canada for example prostitution is legal (but solicitation and pimping is not). When economic times are tough we see a rise in prostitution (and suicide rates), proof that its necessity which drives the underground sex industry and not any actual desire. When economic times are good prostitution slows to a crawl.
Thus when young women have job opportunities and career options open to them they see becoming an "escort" as lower down on the list of options.
But that doesn't stop the supply and demand of prostitution. In countries with strong economies (Canada, the USA, Germany, etc.) the demand is high, but the supply is low so the people running the operations (pimps, brothels, etc) rely on foreign labour to help meet the demand.
Thus even though domestic prostitution rates may be lower thanks to a strong economy, the criminal elements bring in foreign sex workers to fill the demand.
Giving visas or Green Cards to sex workers / escorts isn't exactly on each governments' list of priorities however. Thus many escorts are imported illegally using human trafficking and often remain inside the country undocumented because they've been schooled in how to avoid the law and detection.
Then there is also the problems like drug addiction, underage prostitution, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, other sexual diseases and of course suicide rates. There is really no positive benefits from the sex industry. Its all bad.
For the people supplying the demand (the 'Johns') they might be married or in a relationship and if the wife/girlfriend finds out they could end up with a broken home. If there is children involved it could be a messy divorce.
20% of American men have paid for a prostitute.
The reverse could be equally true. The wife working as an escort in secret. It won't be glamourous either, its all about the money. If they're in an abusive relationship with their boyfriend / pimp will be extorting her earnings and often spending it on drugs.
At the end of all of this is the government and eventually government regulators. There is a strong movement globally now to regulate and control the sex industry. They've realized they can't fight it through policing so now they want to try regulating and taxing it via government regulated brothels.
But even that is not a perfect solution. Many escorts (and their pimps) prefer to operate independently so they don't have to pay taxes. They don't see any benefits to the added protection and better pay / treatment they would receive working for a regulated brothel.
The sex industry is becoming very sophisticated these days with websites like Escort Service Berlin, smart phones, GPS tracking... its a bit like operating a bicycle courier delivery service.
Escort Berlin and other websites have literally dozens (sometimes hundreds) of escorts working for them. Many of whom you will note were not born in Germany but imported.
Germany is one of the top 10 destination countries for sex trafficking in the world and 75% of escorts in Germany are foreigners.
Many of the women are brought into Germany from Thailand and other locations through marriage, false documentation and human trafficking.
Germany deports between 1,000 to 2,000 escorts annually who are discovered to be there illegally.
In Berlin alone it was estimated in 2000 there was 7,000 prostitutes, most of them brought in from eastern European countries from the former Soviet Union.
Sex tourism outside of Germany is also very common. In 1997 it was estimated that 200,000 German men travel abroad annually as sex tourists, many of whom visit Thailand looking to have sex with girls under the age of 14.
The sad fact is that there is very little government can do about the sex industry. Its so underground its virtually unreachable.
The only things we can do is try to help and save the people we can.
Street Prostitution in Canada
Prostitution in Germany
Tackling Prostitution in Britain
Sex Trafficking in the USA