I recently got into a discussion with a young Muslim girl who seemed absolutely astonished to find that I see no reason to demean or insult prostitutes. The discussion originated from a classy comment she made about how Muslim women are not prostitutes like the women in the West (showing your arms and legs is a huge offense, ladies!). My response to this girl was to challenge her conception of how people dress in the West, but also to ask what's wrong with prostitutes. Predictably, her answer was more of shock and disbelief than anything else.
But what is wrong with prostitutes? Why does choosing to make a living from sex automatically make you a dirty or immoral person, according to some people? We sell so much else about ourselves that no one seems to protest. We sell our time, our appearance (in the fashion industry, for example), our intellectual property (thoughts), our bodies (i.e. medical testing), and so much more, but selling sexual interaction is too 'sacred'?
Personally I think the thoughts in our head are more sacred and intimate than sexual interaction, but we sell them anyway, and I believe this is as it should be in the free market. If you have a good idea, what's wrong with selling it to someone else? If you're good at something, why not put that skill to use for a living? We all want to do this in one way or another, and for prostitutes, their talent happens to be sex.
There are negative aspects to prostitution undoubtedly, but these stem more from it being illegal then the simple act of prostitution itself. Abusive pimps are a problem, but in Nevada, where prostitution is legal, there is no such threat. Sexually transmitted diseases are not such an issue either, as each girl is regularly tested. Just as with consensual sex involving no money, prostitution can be safe or it can be dangerous, depending on the people involved and the choices that are made.
I have never been to see a prostitute, and I would probably never spend money to get something I can find for free (most of the time, lol), but I will not judge those who decide otherwise, because that is their decision, not mine. If we have the right to put alcohol and other harmful substances into our bodies, I think that should be taken to its logical conclusion - that we have the right to do anything we like with our bodies, whether we pay for it or not. This is the most basic right that we have as human beings, and to deprive us of it is to invite tyranny into our lives.