Under most states and counties in the United States prostitution is illegal and punishable as a misdemeanor in most cases. Prostitution is defined as the act of offering, agreeing to or engaging in sexual acts or sexual contact for compensation.
While prostitution may not be the world's oldest profession, historical records show that it's been around since at least the 18th century BCE. Currently, Nevada is the only state which allows for some type of legalized prostitution, but only in certain counties and only in licensed brothels.
Though prostitution is a crime under federal law and in all states other than Nevada, certain conduct related to it is treated far more severely than the act itself. Pimping and pandering laws are designed to curb prostitution—and to protect people who might take part in it—by punishing those who exploit, facilitate, or knowingly benefit from the sex trade.
Prostitution is illegal in 49 of the 50 states, Nevada being the sole exception. But some people believe that paid sex is so entrenched in our society that the focus should not be prosecuting it, but rather keeping it clean and safe. Others argue that it’s impossible to strip prostitution of exploitation, harassment, and violence, and that outright prohibition is the only tenable approach.
Human trafficking is the transportation of coerced workers either across or within international borders. It is comparable with, if not an actual form of slavery, because the victims are subjected to either involuntary labor or sex work. Human traffickers generally isolate their already vulnerable victims
Law enforcement agencies often use -- and courts usually allow -- “sting” operations, where officers go undercover to catch people involved in the sex trade. Sting operations are a practical response to the way prostitution is carried out. Most other crimes come to the attention of law enforcement
Until the 1990s, the American legal system punished people who supplied prostitution services, while the customers (or “johns”) were largely ignored. Prostitutes (and to a lesser extent pimps, promoters, and panderers) were arrested, prosecuted, and spent time in jail and prison, while the john went