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Depending on the jurisdiction, prostitution law may deem commercial sex to be legal or illegal.
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.
Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes.
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.
Although a popular etymology connects "hooker" with Joseph Hooker, a Union general in the American Civil War, the word more likely comes from the concentration of prostitutes around the shipyards and ferry terminal of the Corlear's Hook area of Manhattan in the 1820s, who came to be referred to as "hookers".