Those offering services to female customers are commonly known as gigolos; those offering services to male customers are hustlers or rent boys.Clients of prostitutes are sometimes known as johns or tricks in North America and punters in the British Isles.In some places, men who drive around red-light districts for the purpose of soliciting prostitutes are also known as kerb crawlers. The prostitution metaphor, "traditionally used to signify political inconstancy, unreliability, fickleness, a lack of firm values and integrity, and venality, has long been a staple of Russian political rhetoric." In 1938, he used the same description for the Comintern, saying that the chief aim of the Bonapartist clique of Stalin during the preceding several years "has consisted in proving to the imperialist 'democracies' its wise conservatism and love for order.The word "prostitution" can also be used metaphorically to mean debasing oneself or working towards an unworthy cause or "selling out". For the sake of the longed alliance with imperialist democracies [Stalin] has brought the Comintern to the last stages of political prostitution." Besides targeting political figures, the term is used in relation to organizations and even small countries, which "have no choice but to sell themselves", because their voice in world affairs is insignificant.
Although a popular etymology connects "hooker" with Joseph Hooker, a Union general in the American Civil War, the word more likely comes from the concentration of prostitutes around the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook area of Manhattan in the 1820s, who came to be referred to as "hookers".There are about 42 million prostitutes in the world, living all over the world (though most of Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa lacks data, studied countries in that large region rank as top sex tourism destinations).Another explanation is that prostituta is a composition of pro and statuere (to cause to stand, to station, place erect).In the Ancient Near East along the Tigris–Euphrates river system there were many shrines and temples or "houses of heaven" dedicated to various deities documented by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in The Histories As early as the 18th century BC, ancient Mesopotamia recognized the need to protect women's property rights.
In the Code of Hammurabi, provisions were found that addressed inheritance rights of women, including female prostitutes.
It is sometimes referred to euphemistically as "the world's oldest profession" in the English-speaking world. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution.