In all parts of the world, where we see traces of human culture we see evidence of a sex trade. Escorts have played a significant role in every major civilisation throughout history. This has been evident from ancient Mesopotamia to the Wild West and current day societies. The practice has a very mixed history to say the least, but current laws and regulations have changed the nature of legalised prostitution in many developed countries.
Though the trade of sex for money has some negative connotations, it is culturally tied into our history in a much deeper way than many of us understand. Some of the earliest signs of the trade reside in Mesopotamia in which the role was intertwined with religious practices. Women would use the ‘sacred’ power of their bodies as a way to offer encourage men to offer money to their temples. Likewise in India, the trade has been prominent. There were traditionally nine tiers of escorts. The Ganika or elite tier were usually trained in other performing arts fields and they would have poems written about them in royal courts.
In Ancient Greece the position was unique. Known as auletrides, these women were trained musicians, acrobats and dancers and their sexual encounters were only considered one facet of their role as entertainers. They were also heavily involved in religious ceremonies and often reserved for private parties and events.
The legality of sex work in modern societies varies depending on your location. A recent study by Dr Tracey Sagar involving 6,750 students revealed the commonality of the sex trade in the United Kingdom. It was reported that 1 in 20 students were involved in the sex trade to support their student debt loans. This was true for both men (5%) and women (3.5%) with earnings between $100 and $1500 for lap dancers. This extends even first as some high class escorts in major cities make millions of dollars. It was reported in Australia for example, that escorts working around mining towns were making upwards of $300,000 a year.
Sex work has a long and mixed history. Though many will continue to argue against it be it for moral or religious reasons, there will always be a high demand for the service. Fortunately today, many laws have insured the improvement of the conditions for many sex workers worldwide.