From Frugivore — When it comes to the intersection of sex, demand, and currency, the public often shies away from engaging in thoughtful, intelligent conversations and instead, resorts to slut-shaming. Stepping away from the stigma, social hang ups on sex, and the taboos of sex as a business, sex work is a profession at its core. Like any other, it’s an occupation in which one person offers a service and the consumer pays to receive the benefits of that service. It’s a vocation that’s based on a financial exchange, but meets exclusion, discrimination, and prejudice for its product, sexual favors. But it’s also a diverse profession, spanning prostitutes to exotic dancers, practiced by more than just women, and responsible for employing millions across the globe.

Is it fair to criminalize sex workers and deny them social services for engaging in a profession by choice or coercion? What’s the real issue that Americans have with legitimizing sex work? Because there are numerous occupations that parallel the profession in terms of risk, yet non-sex workers receive better healthcare, legal protection, and law enforcement support.

Often called the world’s oldest profession, it’s clear that sex work is not going anywhere, whether it is legalized or not. Despite its ancient history, the contemporary public still classifies sex workers as “un-people,” unworthy of adequate social services, undeserving of unbiased healthcare, and unfit to be legitimately recognized in the national economy. In numerous other legal mediums, it’s clear that sex sells, whether it’s music, film, advertising, adult entertainment, or another popular pastime. Sex, as an industry, is powerful, lucrative, and a driving force in inspiring financial consumption.

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