The Abolitionist perspective holds that governments should work towards the elimination of prostitution.
The Outlaw Perspective views work in the sex trade as a “stepping stone to a better career or an expression of sexual freedom”.
In the words of Kathleen Barry, consent is not a “good divining rod as to the existence of oppression, and consent to violation is a fact of oppression.
Oppression cannot effectively be gauged according to the degree of “consent,” since even in slavery there was some consent, if consent is defined as inability to see any alternative.
"(...) most authors suggest that consent to prostitution is deeply problematic if not impossible (...) most authors have argued that consent to prostitution is impossible.
For radical feminists this is because prostitution is always a coercive sexual practice.Second, they agree that authentic consent is the sine qua non of legitimate sex, whether in commercial or non-commercial form.Third, all feminists recognize that commercial sex workers are subject to economic coercion and are often victims of violence, and that little is done to address these problems.” They go on to identify three main feminist views on the issue of prostitution.They say that the act of prostitution is not a mutual and equal sex act as it puts the woman in a subordinate position, reducing her to a mere instrument of sexual pleasure for the client.These feminists believe that many clients use the services of prostitutes because they enjoy the "power trip" they derive from the act and the control they have over the woman during the sexual activity.Others simply suggest that economic coercion makes the sexual consent of sex workers highly problematic if not impossible...".Finally, abolitionists believe no person can be said to truly consent to their own oppression and no people should have the right to consent to the oppression of others.The disagreement between these two feminist stances has proven particularly contentious, and may be comparable to the feminist sex wars (acrimonious debates on sex issues) of the late twentieth century.Newman and White in Women, Politics and Public Policy argue that feminist perspectives on prostitution agree on three main points: “First, they condemn the current legal policy enforcing criminal sanctions against women who offer sex in exchange for money.They say that most women who become prostitutes do so because they were forced or coerced by a pimp or by human trafficking, or, when it is an independent decision, it is generally the result of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity, or of serious underlying problems, such as drug addiction, past trauma (such as child sexual abuse) and other unfortunate circumstances.These feminists point out that women from the lowest socioeconomic classes—impoverished women, women with a low level of education, women from the most disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities—are overrepresented in prostitution all over the world; as stated by Catherine Mac Kinnon: "If prostitution is a free choice, why are the women with the fewest choices the ones most often found doing it? Catharine Mac Kinnon argues that "In prostitution, women have sex with men they would never otherwise have sex with.