Q. What is the Jewish view of prostitution?
A. Based on the verses in the Bible, “There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel” (Deut. 23:18) and “Profane not your daughter to make her a harlot” (Lev. 19:29), Jewish teaching strongly disapproved of prostitution.
It condemned as flagrantly immoral both the woman “who is ready to prostitute herself to every man”, and also the man who resorted to prostitutes. It also warned against approaching a harlot’s door or passing through a “harlots’ market”.
Jews generally led lives marked by sexual modesty. Community regulations sought to prevent sexual licence, including prostitution. Communal leaders vigorously opposed attempts to establish or maintain brothels in the ghettoes or Jewish quarters of towns or cities.
Judaism remains adamant that prostitution debases sex, womanhood and human dignity, and it strongly disapproves of commercial ventures which cynically exploit people’s sexuality.