The English word whore derives from the Old English word hōra, from the Proto-Germanic *hōrōn (prostitute), which derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *keh₂- meaning "desire", a root which has also given us Latin cārus (dear), whence the French cher (dear, expensive) and the Latin cāritās (love, charity).Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho.In Germany, however, most prostitutes' organizations deliberately use the word Hure (whore) since they feel that prostitute is a bureaucratic term.Those seeking to remove the social stigma associated with prostitution often promote terminology such as sex worker, commercial sex worker (CSW) or sex trade worker.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.It is sometimes referred to euphemistically as "the world's oldest profession" in the English-speaking world. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution.
Sex work researcher and writer Gail Pheterson writes that these metaphorical usages exist because "the term "prostitute" gradually took on a Christian moralist tradition, as being synonymous with debasement of oneself or of others for the purpose of ill-gotten gains".
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.