In the Victorian and Edwardian eras some things simply were not said. Victorians were known to use table coverings so the 'limbs" of tables were not seen so you can image the heady furor over an exposed....arm or leg or anything else. Thus, houses of ill repute, brothels, and dens of iniquity were also sometimes called "sporting houses" or "resorts."
Sometimes, and in some locations, even such mundane terms as "rooming house" or "boarding house" was code for such a liaison locale where assignations (paid and otherwise) might occur.
Some girls and women fell into the life because it offered a better financial structure than making hats or sewing dresses. Some women chose the life because they liked sex and drinking. Some women were forced into it by being "ruined" or taken advantage of in a society that was unforgiving of such bad choices. Despite some claims to the opposite, there were "white slave trade" as well. Much like the "Barbary Coast Pirates" who kidnapped men to sail their ships, men and women were also kidnapping, raping, and selling women into prositution.
This was known as "white slave trade." Unfortunately, selling people (of all color, sexes and ages) for sex continues into the 21st century.