A person who works in this field is called a prostitute, and is a type of sex worker.
Prostitution is one branch of the sex industry, along with pornography, stripping, and erotic dancing.
Another commonly used word for a prostitute is hooker.
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".
A literal translation therefore is: "to put up front for sale" or "to place forward".
The Online Etymology Dictionary states, "The notion of 'sex for hire' is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one 'exposed to lust' or sex 'indiscriminately offered.'" The word prostitute was then carried down through various languages to the present-day Western society.
Use of the word whore is widely considered pejorative, especially in its modern slang form of ho.A variety of terms are used for those who engage in prostitution, some of which distinguish between different types of prostitution or imply a value judgment about them.Common alternatives for prostitute include escort and whore; however, not all professional escorts are prostitutes.Most sex worker activists groups reject the word prostitute and since the late 1970s have used the term sex worker instead.However, sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sexual nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes.