As a rule, prostitution is understood as somehow socially organized forms of selling sex. Natural form of such an organization is the relationship of prostitutes with pimps — men, providing (to some extent) the safety of prostitutes and supplying them to the customers. A more complex form of organization of prostitution are brothels that can be assembled a "working group" "sexual workers."
In the nineteenth century to self-organization of persons involved in prostitution, adds the activity of the state aimed at establishing some control over this sphere of life — with the aim of reducing crime, seizure of income and interference with avalanche-like spread of sexually transmitted diseases: introduce some form of licensing of prostitution (in tsarist Russia the document certifying that his mistress is engaged in the sale of sex, was called "the yellow ticket").
At different times in different jurisdictions, attempts were made to criminalize prostitution per se. Currently, in some countries criminal liability for prostitution is absent. In all countries, however, retained criminal penalties for the involvement in prostitution of minors and persons with mental disabilities, for soliciting prostitution; in some countries (including in Russia) a criminal offense is the organization of prostitution as a business.