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Legalized Prostitution

Legalized Prostitution

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Legalized Prostitution

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  1. Legalized Prostitution • One of first public health campaigns designed to control behavior • In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church controlled the bordellos—closed down in Protestant countries • City authorities permitted prostitutes to work with medical examinations-often found in Catholic countries • Men never examined in 19th and early 20th century • Often regulated, even in Great Britain, in port cities with large numbers of single men • Medically regulated prostitution designed by the French during the Napoleonic Wars and then spread throughout Europe and other parts of the world

  2. Prostitution and Gender in Latin American History • Existed prior to the European conquest • Often part of ritual ceremonies • Women given as gifts to conquerors • Modern version of prostitution in Latin American and elsewhere a product of urbanization and immigration • In the 19th century it often involved the prostitution of non-white women and European women who emigrated to the New World • In the 20th century it usually involves Latin American women who work abroad

  3. Prostitution and Public Health • Legalized prostitution a modern public health campaign in the 19th century • Definition: female prostitution supervised by military, municipal, or medical officials • Goal: Eliminate venereal disease • Myth and Reality of medical treatment • Who legalized prostitution to Latin America? Medical specialists who read European journals French occupiers of Mexico in 1860s

  4. Legal and illegal prostitution • Creation of legal bordellos: source of taxation and medical surveillance • Existence of illegal prostitutes: street walkers and courtesans • Why men are not regulated • Importance of large cities and immigration to legal prostitution system

  5. White Slavery • International campaign to limit immigration of European women • Became massive moral reform campaign backed by Protestant reformers and many feminists • Belief that women who traveled alone were in sexual danger • Also gave rise to fears that women would be drugged in bars or movies and taken as a “slave” to South America, South Africa or India

  6. Myth and Reality of White Slavery • Most women who emigrated from Europe did not become prostitutes • Most European women working as prostitutes in Latin America were prostitutes in Europe • Among the exceptions to this rule were Jewish women who were victims of religious persecution in Europe and often sold to traffickers in phony marriage ceremonies. Their dowries kept families alive in Europe. • Campaigns were more of a nationalist scare than anything else. • European women ended up working in major port cities all over the world, including in the United States

  7. Case Studies: Brazil • Little European immigration until end of slavery in 1888 • French prostitutes welcomed in Brazil because they were believed to bring “modern” norms of sexuality to Brazil • Non-white prostitutes tended to work in different areas of town and on the streets • Attitudes toward syphilis • Never signed any international treaties against White Slavery

  8. Case Studies: Argentina • Experienced extensive European immigration after 1850 from Spain and Italy • Buenos Aires a bustling port city with a high percentage of immigrant males • Little work for women in Buenos Aires • Dance halls, bars and bordellos became important places for women to work • National dance, the tango, developed in brothels and dance halls • Physicians supported French ideals of public health

  9. Mexico • Legalized prostitution implemented in 1865 during French Intervention • Practiced in large cities including Mexico City and border cities such as Tijuana and Nogales, as well as in mining towns where large numbers of men agglomerated • Prostitution exercised by all kinds of women of different ethnicities on both sides of the border. • U.S. Immigration became concerned after passage of the Mann Act in 1910.

  10. Mann Act, 1910 • TITLE 18. CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE PART I. CRIMES CHAPTER 117. TRANSPORTATION FOR ILLEGAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY ANDRELATED CRIMES @ 2421.Transportation generallyWhoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate orforeign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the UnitedStates, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution,or in any sexual activity for which any person can be chargedwith a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title orimprisoned not more than five years, or bothHISTORY; ANCILLARY LAWS AND DIRECTIVES PRIOR LAW AND REVISION: 1948 ActThis section is based on Act June 25, 1910, ch 395, @@ 1, 2,5, 8, 36 Stat. 825--827 (former 18 U.S.C. @@ 397, 398, 401, and404).

  11. Prostitution in Latin America after the World Wars • Most countries abolished legal bordellos under international pressure • Prostitution and bordellos continued to exist, particularly near military bases and in large cities • Tolerated by the police as “a necessary evil” and a source of graft • Fewer immigrant women involved in prostitution—thereby more invisible to foreign observers

  12. Prostitution and serial killings • All over the world, since the 19th century there have been a series of horrendous serial killers who preyed on prostitutes. • “Jack the Ripper” the most famous • Rarely caught by the police as they often ignore the murder of prostitutes • Currently a major serial killer is on the loose in Juarez, Mexico • In 6 years 182 women have been murdered and no one arrested • All poor women, often employees of maquiladoras