Dating is like prostitution
The woman in the story was not a legitimate prostitute but actually was Judah's widowed daughter-in-law, who sought to trick Judah into impregnating her.
However, since she succeeded in impersonating a prostitute her conduct can be assumed to accurately represent the behaviour of a prostitute in society during that time period.
In a later Biblical story, found in the Book of Joshua, a prostitute in Jericho named Rahab assisted Israelite spies by providing them with information regarding the current socio-cultural and military situation.
Rahab was knowledgeable in these matters because of her popularity with the high-ranking nobles.
Presumably under the influence of the Phoenicians, this practice was developed in other ports of the Mediterranean Sea, such as Erice (Sicily), Locri Epizephiri, Croton, Rossano Vaglio and Sicca Veneria.
When the people of Israel conquered Canaan, she converted to Judaism and married a prominent member of the people.
In the Book of Revelation, the Whore of Babylon is named "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth".
Other hypotheses include Asia Minor, Lydia, Syria and the Etruscans.
In later years sacred prostitution and similar classifications for females were known to have existed in Greece, Rome, India, China, and Japan. There are a number of references to prostitution in the Hebrew Bible.