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The first thing to remember is that they call it the worlds oldest profession, it has been going on since there was sex and something to trade for it. Nothing has eliminated it, and most countries historically just formalised it in the form of marriage. (It was one component of marriage not the only basis).
In most "western" democracies prostitution is illegal.

Yet making prostitution illegal is silly, a throwback to the old world where
  • Women were not allowed to work
  • There were no contraceptives
  • There were no condoms
  • Women had less rights
More and more countries are legalising prostitution as this reality hits home that the world has changed.

Why is it illegal?

  • Paying for things is illegal
  • Having legal consential sex.
But for some reason where they intersect that has become illegal. See diagrams below.
Purchase of prostitution

Sale of prostitution

You can have any sex with anyone consenting and eligble, no matter:
  • How wealthy or poor they are.
  • Whether they bought you a a present, drink, or meal.
  • Whether they are likely to support you in future
  • Whether you are dating them just for their money
So you can have sex with them if it is implicitly for money or resources.
But you can't have sex with them if it is explicitly for money or resources.

The reason for having sex can be anything you want in the world like
  • You are bored and want a thrill
  • You want to hurt someone(make them jealous)
  • You want children
  • You feel you owe it to someone
  • You want them to stop pestering you
  • To gain influence
But you just can't do it for money, even though influence can get you money

So in summary you can do just about anything you want when it comes to sex,  except pay, or be paid for it explicitly. The reason for being able to do what you want is it is your body, or your money.
But put the two together and its not your body or money, someone else has rights to it.

They say "sex sells"
But in most cases  it's illegal to sell sex

Sex problems can be covered by existing law

All sex work should be decriminalised and EXISTING legislation (eg Health and Safety Acts) used to protect sex workers.

Interesting fact

Brothels in Turkey are state run.