Illustration by Hannah Robinson

Oldest profession or oldest oppression: what is the future of prostitution?
This week I stumbled across an unusual article; “19-year-old Ukranian Sells Her Virginity For $1.3M to 58-Year-Old Businessman From Munich”. This story is indicative of a wider issue. This ordinary Ukrainian woman named Katya sold the most lucrative part of her body online. She has said that she will spend her fortune on travel and luxuries. Taking into account all strides of feminist progress, I am wondering why so many women continue to fall victim to men’s worst instincts?

It is obvious that prostitution does not have a single nation or culture. But, there is clear evidence linking economic insecurity with people choosing to enter prostitution. Women may end up joining this industry for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of pressing economic conditions. Anxiety and social insecurity are also huge factors that tempt women to surrender freedom to men in positions of power. The same is applicable to the men whose poorly egos desperately need this sex in order to hold them together. The sex trade provides men with freedom to use female bodies, which convinces men that they are powerful and in control, thereby masking their own inability to form close relationships.

The current world order is built on female subjugation. In an age when three-quarters of the world’s legislators are men, it is not surprising that seeing women as an equal may cost men a certain part of their oppressive power. And what is most obnoxious is that the practice of using female bodies as a marketplace is normalised under the liberal economic system. What we see now is a global push of left-wing governments that promote policies which tolerate and actively enabling sex trade. Accepting this mindset will lead to further normalisation of sexual exploitation. This model is failing us and decriminalisation of prostitution only further supports existing gender inequality. This is because it will become even easier for the men who run the global sex industry to make more money out of women’s bodies.

This particular controversial website that auctions off women’s virginities is run from the bedroom of a 26-year-old German man. To be listed on sales, women need to show a medical certificate confirming their virginity. The meeting between “partners”, the buyer and the seller, usually takes place in Germany, where prostitution is legal.

Evidence suggests that the current system is designated to enrich wealthy, elite, mostly white men, at the expense of the most vulnerable. And the problem of gender inequality only grows from this.

Recent data from the World Economic Forum indicates that the world’s richest 22 men have more money than all of the women in Africa combined. As I mentioned previously, economic instability has strong ties to prostitution; as a result, there is evident need for better opportunities for women across the globe. Only by boosting economic growth and tackling gender equality will we be able to reject the idea that everyone is for sale.

Alena Tsimashchuk