A whore should be judged by the same criteria as other professionals offering services for pay -- such as dentists, lawyers, hairdressers, physicians, plumbers, etc. Is she professionally competent? Does she give good measure? Is she honest with her clients?
It is possible that the percentage of honest and competent whores is higher than that of plumbers and much higher than that of lawyers. And enormously higher than that of professors. ---Lazarus Long
Penn and Teller - Prostitution
Prostitution describes sexual intercourse in exchange for remuneration. The legal status of prostitution varies in different countries, from punishable by death to complete legality. A woman who engages in sexual intercourse with only one man for support is a mistress, and not normally considered a prostitute. Male prostitutes offering services to female customers are known as "gigolos" or "escorts".
The term is used loosely to indicate someone who engages in sexual acts that are disapproved of, such as sexual promiscuity or sex outside of marriage. Cultural usage varies widely, and the use of the term as a pejorative indicates acts that are not formally considered prostitution in a cultural context.
In ancient times and in some primitive societies, prostitution often had religious connotations–sexual intercourse with temple maidens was an act of worship to the temple deity. In Greece the hetaerae [Gr.,=companions or associates] were often women of high social status, but in Rome the meretrices were on a low social level and were forced to wear wigs and special garments signifying their trade. In the Middle Ages prostitution flourished, and licensed brothels were a source of revenue to municipalities.
PROSTITUTION - Prostitution & The Law - The FACTS
Empowerment or Exploitation: Life as a Sex Worker
PROSTITUTION - Prostitution & The Law - The FACTS
The Economics Of Prostitution
Wife or whore?
The choice is that simple. At least according to economists Lena Edlund and Evelyn Korn, it is.
The two well-respected economists created a minor stir in academic circles a few years back when they published "A Theory of Prostitution" in the Journal of Political Economy. The paper was remarkable not only for being accepted by a major journal but also because it considered wives and whores as economic "goods" that can be substituted for each other. Men buy, women sell.
Economists have been equating money and marriage ever since Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker published his seminal paper "A Theory of Marriage" in two parts in 1973 and 1974--also, not coincidentally, in the Journal of Political Economy.
Becker used market analysis to tackle the questions of whom, when and why we marry. His conclusions? Mate selection is a market, and marriages occur only if they are profitable for both parties involved.
Becker allowed nonmonetary elements, like romantic love and companionship, to be entered into courtship's profit and loss statement. And children, in particular, were important. "Sexual gratification, cleaning, feeding and other services can be purchased, but not children: Both the man and the woman are required to produce their own children and perhaps to raise them," he wrote.
But back to whores: Edlund and Korn admit that spouses and streetwalkers aren't exactly alike. Wives, in truth, are superior to whores in the economist's sense of being a good whose consumption increases as income rises--like fine wine. This may explain why prostitution is less common in wealthier countries. But the implication remains that wives and whores are--if not exactly like Coke and Pepsi--something akin to champagne and beer. The same sort of thing.
As with Becker, a key differentiator in Edlund and Korn's model is reproductive sex. Wives can offer it, whores can not.
To be fair, Edlund and Korn were merely building an admittedly grossly simplified model of human behavior in an attempt to answer a nagging question: Why do hookers make so much money? Prostitution is, seemingly, a low-skill but high-pay profession with few upfront costs, micro-miniskirts and stiletto heels aside.
Yet according to data assembled from a wide variety of times and places, ranging from mid-15th-century France to Malaysia of the late 1990s, prostitutes make more money--in some cases, a lot more money--than do working girls who, well, work for a living. This held true even for places where prostitution is legal and relatively safe. In short, streetwalkers aren't necessarily being paid more for their increased risk of going to jail or the hospital.
Notwithstanding Jerry Hall's quip when she was married to Mick Jagger, about being "a maid in the living room and a whore in the bedroom," one normally cannot be both a wife and a whore. "Combine this with the fact that marriage can be an important source of income for women, and it follows that prostitution must pay better than other jobs to compensate for the opportunity cost of forgone-marriage market earnings," Edlund and Korn conclude.
Another zinger: "This begs the question of why married men go to prostitutes (rather than buying from their wives, who presumably will be low-cost providers, considering that they can sell nonreproductive sex without compromising their marriage)." Guys, nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" more than "low-cost provider."
Of course, it's easy to pour cold water on some of the assumptions made in Edlund and Korn's mathematical model. But these so-called "stylized facts" are supposed to predict human behavior; they don't necessarily pretend to mirror it.
In particular, the assumption that there is no "third way" between wife and whore is problematic, if not outright offensive: "The third alternative, working in a regular job but not marrying, can be ruled out, since we assume that the only downside of marriage for a woman is the forgone opportunity for prostitution."
Be sure to let all your married friends know what they're missing.
Also, the emphasis on the utility of children is puzzling. In most Western democracies, fertility rates have plummeted as wealth has increased. Empirically, men not only buy fewer whores as they get richer, but they have fewer children.
Still, the economic analysis of marriage explains one age-old phenomenon: gold digging.
"In particular, does our analysis justify the popular belief that more beautiful, charming and talented women tend to marry wealthier and more successful men?" wrote Becker. His answer: "A positive sorting of nonmarket traits with nonhuman wealth always, and with earnings power, usually, maximizes commodity output over all marriages."
In other words, yes, supermodels do prefer aging billionaires. And Gary Becker proved it mathematically decades before The Donald married Melania.
In June of 1993, Heidi Fleiss, age 27, was arrested at her Benedict Canyon home, accused of running a high-priced call girl service catering to L.A.'s rich and famous. It would "break wide open" a scandal containing everything the press found desirable: sex, violence, power, celebrities, and the promise of embarrassing the rich and famous.
Here was a young woman who'd cornered the prostitute market and remained on top for two and a half years. Her sex business catered not only to Hollywood's top executives and stars, but also the top one percent of the richest people in the entire world. These were individuals who ran countries or whose actions could easily alter global economies. Fleiss knew she was doing something illegal, she knew be get caught eventually - but she figured why not just have the best time possible?
She ran her business by cell phone and voice recognition. Her customers, clients and girls all knew each other, and everyone was friends. Rumors surfaced of a little black book, allegedly containing names of top studio heads, actors, entertainers and other prominent figures - as well as contact information, sexual preferences, and how much money these individuals had contributed to Fleiss's cause. Revelations this data existed caused a wave of silent panic throughout Hollywood, but the book itself was never made public. The most high-profile client identified in court proceedings was actor Charlie Sheen, who testified to paying Fleiss $50,000 for escorts who charged up to $2500.00 a night. Other names like Jack Nicholson, Billy Idol and Mick Jagger were connected by tabloids.
Fleiss was arraigned in Los Angeles on five counts of pandering (procuring prostitutes) and one count of selling cocaine. When a grand jury sustained a guilty verdict, the indictment replaced the criminal charges. A federal grand jury moved forward with additional charges of conspiracy, tax fraud, and money laundering. Paul Fleiss, Heidi's father, was also indicted for helping her hide the money. Both pled not guilty.
A federal judge ordered Heidi into drug treatment after she violated the terms of her pretrial release by testing positive for methamphetamines. Her father made arrangements with officials to testify against her in exchange for reduced money laundering charges. He was sentenced to one day in prison, a $50,000 fine, three years probation, and 625 hours of community service.
Heidi was sentenced in 1997 to three years in prison for money laundering, tax evasion and attempted pandering. She served at a federal prison in Dublin, California. Jail time was a humiliating, humbling experience, Fleiss says. "They were waiting for me. It was a lesbian hell. Prison was a journey I had to take. I came away with a lot of things I was lacking: wisdom, compassion, honesty."
Fleiss was further imposed with 300 hours of community service and a $400 fine. After two years of good behavior, she was released to a halfway house where she finished the remainder of her sentence. Later, she admitted there was no little black book.
"I believe you will be a positive role model for other young people and other women who could benefit from the experiences you've had," the judge told Fleiss.
One of Heidi's best friends is Victoria Sellers, daughter of Peter Sellers. Together, they released a DVD titled Sex Tips which instructs viewers how to run a prostitution ring. In January of 2003, Heidi Fleiss sold her life story to Paramount Pictures, pitched as Pretty Woman crossed with the visual energy and excess of Scarface. Nicole Kidman was rumored to have expressed an interest.
Briefly, Fleiss dated actor Tom Sizemore (Robbery Homicide Division, CBS). The National Enquirer recently announced they split up after Fleiss discovered Sizemore was taking massive doses of Viagra, frequenting prostitutes formerly employed by Fleiss, insisting upon outrageously disgusting sexual favors, and then neglecting to pay for their services.
30 Dec 1965 Heidi Fleiss born.
1995 Actor Charlie Sheen testifies that he used the services of Fleiss' hookers no fewer than 27 times, totalling $53,000. That's an average of over $1900 per trick.
1995 While Steven Hoefflin is hanging around with Heidi Fleiss, a handcuffed man attempts suicide by jumping off the Santa Monica Pier. Hoefflin spends 30 minutes in the water rescuing the homeless man, who clearly does not want to be rescued.
9 Feb 1996 Hollywood Madam, a BBC documentary film, released.
1998 Leaves prison after serving 20 months of 37 sentenced.
May 2002 Boyfriend Tom Sizemore "hit me in the bedroom and dragged me across the room by my hair. He hit me with his hands... I had a black eye." Court testimony.
8 Apr 2003 Heidi Fleiss released from court probation, which was extended six months because of her methamphetamine use.
15 Aug 2003 Boyfriend actor Tom Sizemore convicted of domestic violence against Fleiss, and making obscene phone calls.
30 Sep 2003 "These two guys come up and they just start questioning me, with very intrusive questions about Arnold Schwarzenegger. They look like FBI agents, but they're from the Los Angeles Times." Heidi Fleiss, convicted Hollywood Madam. (Celebrity Justice magazine, a Time/Warner publication)
Sex with Hollywood's top sex expert Heidi Fleiss
Heidi Lynne Fleiss (born December 30, 1965), known as the "Hollywood Madam", was an American madam. She was convicted in connection with her prostitution ring with charges including pandering and tax evasion. Her ring had numerous famous and wealthy clients. She was sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax evasion, (pandering charges were dropped) but served just 21.
Her father, Doctor Paul M. Fleiss is a famous Intactivist (one who opposes circumcision). He was convicted of money laundering in connection with the sex crimes of his daughter, and sentenced to one day in prison, three years of probation and 625 hours of community service.
Nick Broomfield interviews a street prostitute
Madam Pleads Guilty In Monroeville Prostitution Ring
PITTSBURGH -- A Mount Washington woman pleaded guilty to charges that she ran a highly lucrative prostitution ring with her boyfriend -- a former NFL and University of Pittsburgh football player.
Amy Schifano, 31, was the madam and Bob Buczkowski, 43, was the enforcer who provided muscle for the operation, which was based in Monroeville, state prosecutors said.
Schifano agreed to plead guilty on Wednesday to 27 charges, including promoting prostitution and dealing and possessing drugs.
If the judge accepts her plea deal, she will likely be sentenced to between 2½ and 5 years in prison, her lawyer said.
Prosecutors said the couple ran their business, Buckwild Entertainment, out of Buczkowski's parents' home and placed weekly ads in the City Paper to attract customers.
The escort service got between 100 to 300 phone calls daily from 2003 to 2005, according to prosecutors.
Buczkowski pleaded guilty last week to several drug- and prostitution-related charges.
Schifano and Buczkowski are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5.
Police accuse woman of running prostitution business
ELMHURST, IL - An Elmhurst woman faces charges for running what authorities called an extensive prostitution business out of her home.
Shelly K. Lee, 32, was charged with prostitution and possession of marijuana after Elmhurst police determined she was bringing as many as 10 to 15 men daily to her home at 304 Oaklawn Ave.
Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor and carries a penalty of up to one year in prison; possession of marijuana, a Class C misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to 30 days in prison, said Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State’s Attorney Joe Birkett.
Lee, who went free on bond after her arrest, will appear in DuPage County Circuit Court at 8 a.m. Monday, July 9, Darrah said.
Elmhurst police learned of Lee while monitoring Web sites like craigslist.org, where Lee posed as a massage therapist, said Detective Cmdr. Dan Buenz. Finding those operating within town is more effective than stinging prostitutes from outside of Elmhurst, he said.
“We can call them out to (Elmhurst) all day long and just have a field day arresting people, but it doesn’t directly affect our community,” he said. “This one was right in our backyard, the kind we like to target.”
Police arrested Lee at her home the afternoon of June 6. Lee moved to Elmhurst from Bartlett in early May, but grew up in Elmhurst, Buenz said.
One of Lee’s next-door neighbors, who asked to remain anonymous, was surprised to hear of the woman’s arrest.
“It sounds crazy,” the woman said. “We just met her last week. Pretty soon, I’ll be going, ‘Who are my neighbors?’”
In the last two years, the Police Department has stepped up efforts to monitor Web sites and push Internet safety. The department’s community-oriented policing team and investigation division trolls Web sites like craigslist.org regularly.
“If you come to us, there’s good chance you’ll end up meeting a police officer instead of a regular john,” Buenz said.
Anyone with more information about Lee should call Buenz at (630) 530-3074.
Prostitution in Mexico
At present, only 18 of the 32 states of Mexico regulate prostitution.
Each big city has a red zone (zona roja) where prostitution is allowed.
Prostitution cannot take place in public places - such as public buses, subways, or in public property. It is allowed on private property only with the approval of the owner.
Prostitutes have to be registered and have to pay for and receive weekly health checks and have to carry a health card to prove it.
There is a more complete account of the legal situation available.
The age of consent is 18, however, most things in Mexico do not go by the law.
Percentage of estimated prostitutes working:
On the streets: 48%
At bars: 38%
At bordellos: 14%
Underage Sex Workers in Mexico
Mexico has no laws defining or sanctioning child prostitution as criminal activity.
An estimated 5,000 children are currently involved in prostitution, pornography and sex-tourism in Mexico. Nearly 100 children and teenagers a month fall into the hands of the child prostitution networks which are mafias or organized crime syndicates.
More than 2,000 girls and young women have been sold to Japanese brothels. Traffickers belong to criminal syndicates operating along the US border and associated with Japanese "yakuza" gangs.
The US-Mexican border is one of the main centers for child sex tourism. Thousands of Americans cross into Mexico daily looking for cheap sex with underage prostitutes. Mexican authorities, who admit that about 18,000 minors were used to produce child pornography, have taken little action.
Organized Mexican cartels smuggle girls as young as 14 into the US. The Cadena network has smuggled many young Mexican girls to south Florida. Despite the arrest of a number of key players by US authorities, the head of the Cadena hydra remains at large. US investigators have also apprehended several employees of the California-based Chamblee Agency for trafficking laborers into the US, some of whom were forced into prostitution and debt-bondage.
The most degrading and often dangerous work of women and children can be found in prostitution. Tens of thousands of Mexican women and girls (as well as men and boys) work as prostitutes in all of the major cities of the country. A recent study by the Mexico City government Youth Commission headed by Angeles Correa found that Mexico City had 50,000 prostitutes of whom 2,500 were minors. Elena Azaola of the Center of Higher Research and Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) found that there were 5,000 child prostitutes in all of Mexico (90 percent female). But Rosa Marta Cortina de Brown of the Female Association of Tourist Enterprise Executive estimates that 250,000 children between 10 and 16 have been the victims of "sexual tourism" in cities like Guadalajara, Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Tijuana. Recently there have also been reports on child prostitution in Veracruz, Queretaro, and Ciudad Juarez. Girls in prostitution face constant problems of possible pregnancy, immature childbirth, violence, alcohol and drug addiction, sexual transmitted diseases including HIV-AIDS.
Retirement home for Mexican prostitutes
The city government has given a new shelter for aging prostitutes in a 1,500-square-meter mansion in the heart of the Merced neighborhood, Mexico City, one of Mexico City's main red-light zones.
Distressed to find aging homeless women still working as prostitutes in downtown Mexico City, womens' groups are preparing a roomy retirement home to take 65 of them off the streets.
Rejected by their families and stripped of much of their earnings by policemen and pimps, the elderly sex workers say they have no choice but to keep working, sometimes for less than $2 a day or just a plate of food.
"I may have two or three clients a day but I can't charge what the young ones do. Sometimes I just ask for food or a hotel room," said Gloria Maria, a kindly faced woman of 74 who mostly sleeps outdoors in a grimy downtown food market.
Funds raised this week will go toward fixing the roof of a an elegant but crumbling 18th century building donated by the Mexico City government to serve as a retirement home for Gloria Maria and others.
Like many of her co-workers, Gloria Maria was raped as a teenager and fell into prostitution soon afterward.
Prostitution is not legal in Mexico but sex workers are tolerated, along with the shoe shiners, orange juice vendors and tamale sellers who clog the streets of big cities, creating a gray economy that absorbs millions of unemployed.
While some of these workers can put savings under the mattress for old age, or hope their children will support them, prostitutes often have nothing after a life of exploitation by pimps and paying bribes to avoid arrest.
Few are in touch with their families or children.
"Other people pay taxes and can retire with a pension. We are exploited by society then thrown away when we get old," said one lithe young prostitute, with long blond hair and funky platform shoes.
"We should have the same rights as anyone else," she said at a fund-raising concert for the retirement home on Tuesday.
Organizers are collecting funds from private donors and hoping local companies will provide beds and help with improvements to the retirement home like painting, plumbing and rewiring.
The women will be expected to cook and clean for themselves and earn money through handicrafts to help with running costs.
The home is seen as a pilot project and the organizers realize it needs to be part of a longer-term solution for sex workers.
"Sex workers are doubly marginalized," said Emilienne de Leon, head of a local womens' rights group called Semillas.
"They are rejected by society and by their families. When they get old, either they sell themselves very cheaply or they don't have enough to eat. It's a very difficult world."
The Panamanian Vice Ministry of Foreign Trade (VICOMEX) is the principal entity responsible for promoting foreign investment. It provides investors with information.
Legislators propose legalizing prostitution in Mexico City
The leftist party that has already legalized gay unions and abortion in Mexico City said it wants to make prostitution legal in the capital of this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country.
Mexico City legislator Juan Bustos of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, who submitted the bill on Tuesday, said the move is necessary to protect prostitutes from abuse and regulate the sex industry.
Corrupt police frequently use the current law not to arrest sex workers but as a threat to shake them down for bribes or sexual favors.
"These are issues that we are going to bring forward as part of a political platform, because we feel it is part of our duty to society," Bustos said Wednesday.
However, he expects opposition. Spokesmen for the Roman Catholic church, which led marches against the abortion bill approved in April, were not immediately available for comment.
But President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party said it had problems with aspects of the bill and that the goal should be to get women out of prostitution.
"We have to discourage this (prostitution), so that more women will not even think about becoming sex workers," said Mariana Gomez del Campo, head of National Action in Mexico City. "We have to try to recover values."
In most Mexican cities, prostitution is considered the equivalent of a misdemeanor. In Mexico City, it is punishable by 12 to 24 hours in jail and fines equal to about US$51 (euro38) to US$93 (euro70).
Some cities have informal red-light zones where prostitution is tolerated, such as the border city of Nuevo Laredo. But none appear to have gone as far as the Mexico City proposal, said Carolina Velazquez of Mexico's Women's Information Center.
The bill would legalize prostitution in designated areas at least 300 meters (985 feet) from schools, parks, churches and apartment complexes, though pimping would remain a crime. It also would require prostitutes to adhere to health safety standards and zoning restrictions, or face punishments similar to those under the current law.
Prostitution Union in Amsterdam
Erotic Service Providers Union
World Charter For Prostitutes' Rights
International Committee for Prostitutes' Rights
Decriminalize all aspects of adult prostitution resulting from individual decision.
Decriminalize prostitution and regulate third parties according to standard business codes. It must be noted that existing standard business codes allow abuse of prostitutes. Therefore special clauses must be included to prevent the abuse and stigmatization of prostitutes (self-employed and others).
Enforce criminal laws against fraud, coercion, violence, child sexual abuse, child labor, rape, racism everywhere and across national boundaries, whether or not in the context of prostitution.
Eradicate laws that can be interpreted to deny freedom of association, or freedom to travel, to prostitutes within and between countries. Prostitutes have rights to a private life.
Guarantee prostitutes all human rights and civil liberties, including the freedom of speech, travel, immigration, work, marriage, and motherhood and the right to unemployment insurance, health insurance and housing.
Grant asylum to anyone denied human rights on the basis of a "crime of status," be it prostitution or homosexuality.
There should be no law which implies systematic zoning of prostitution. Prostitutes should have the freedom to choose their place of work and residence. It is essential that prostitutes can provide their services under the conditions that are absolutely determined by themselves and no one else.
There should be a committee to insure the protection of the rights of the prostitutes and to whom prostitutes can address their complaints. This committee must be comprised of prostitutes and other professionals like lawyers and supporters.
There should be no law discriminating against prostitutes associating and working collectively in order to acquire a high degree of personal security.
All women and men should be educated to periodical health screening for sexually transmitted diseases. Since health checks have historically been used to control and stigmatize prostitutes, and since adult prostitutes are generally even more aware of sexual health than others, mandatory checks for prostitutes are unacceptable unless they are mandatory for all sexually active people.
Employment, counseling, legal, and housing services for runaway children should be funded in order to prevent child prostitution and to promote child well-being and opportunity.
Prostitutes must have the same social benefits as all other citizens according to the different regulations in different countries.
Shelters and services for working prostitutes and re-training programs for prostitutes wishing to leave the life should be funded.
No special taxes should be levied on prostitutes or prostitute businesses.
Prostitutes should pay regular taxes on the same basis as other independent contractors and employees, and should receive the same benefits.
Support educational programs to change social attitudes which stigmatize and discriminate against prostitutes and ex-prostitutes of any race, gender or nationality.
Develop educational programs which help the public to understand that the customer plays a crucial role in the prostitution phenomenon, this role being generally ignored. The customer, like the prostitute, should not, however, be criminalized or condemned on a moral basis.
We are in solidarity with workers in the sex industry.
Organizations of prostitutes and ex-prostitutes should be supported to further implementation of the above charter.
Roman Prostitutes, Brothels, and Prostitution
Prostitution Rarely Punished in Ancient World
Religious moralizers today commonly inveigh against sexual "crimes," one of which is prostitution. Selling sex isn't legal in very many places today and it was condemned in the ancient world, but it turns out that while the ancients may have condemned it, they didn't often punish it.
According to the Discovery Channel, this was the case in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and even Israel:
"The Torah, the prophets and rabbinic literature were critical of the profession," wrote Mayer Gruber, a religion scholar at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, but he added that there is little textual evidence showing that prostitutes or their clients were punished....
"There are oblique references from ancient Egyptian texts to women who were likely prostitutes, but it is not necessarily the same thing as, say, Hollywood and Vine," Schwappach-Shirriff told Discovery News. "Remember, Egypt had no money, so it was all on the barter system. It would be hard to trace sex for barley."
The early Greeks revered prostitution, suggested Yulia Ustinova, a historian at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. ... [In Rome,] the laws suggest officials targeted pimps, not prostitutes. ... Justinian practiced what he preached, as he chose for his wife an actress named Theodora who came from a poor background. When she was younger, Theodora dabbled in what might be considered early Rome's version of soft porn. Justinian made Theodora joint ruler of the empire, where she helped to enact many laws promoting women's rights. None of this would be remotely acceptable to the Christians who try to control society today. What's curious, though, is the fact that many of these same Christians also support economic policies that would allow people to sell other services with few or no legal protections for basic rights. Prostitution is bad, but the absence of a minimum wage — much less a living wage — is OK. Prostitution is bad, but it new mothers don't need paid maternity leave. Prostitution is bad, but workers can be told when, and if, they can use the bathrooms.
So I have to wonder just how much better this Christian morality and work ethic really is.
Prostitution Is Not A Biblical Conflict
Decriminalize Prostitution Now Coalition
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Wasted Ruining Citizens Lives
Instead of fighting real crime.
Legal Prostitution in Islam
Numerous attempts to eradicate prostitution ended invariably in failure
Prostitution as an occupation has existed from time immemorial. Still, the issue of prostitution worries lots of our compatriots. Some of them commit themselves to fighting the social evil by means of legislation, works of art, or “street-smart” propaganda. Others would not mind gaining some hands-on experience of “love for sale” now and then. In the meantime, just a few people seem to be concerned about the history of prostitution, a long and interesting history featuring all sorts of people who were either in favor or against the practice of engaging in sexual acts for money.
The so-called “fathers of the nation” have been trying to change the world since day one. The first documented attempt to improve the moral standards was made by the Athenian statesman Solon in 594 B.C. According to Plutarch, Solon became extremely concerned about “the state of sexual wildness” of the Athenians. Therefore, Solon took steps to instill the germs of morality in his citizens.
To address the issue, Solon acted in a rather traditional manner: he laid down the rules. He decreed that all women be divided into the chaste and unchaste ones. Women of the first category were banned from engaging in sexual activity for payment. By the same decree, husbands were to “have at least three sexual intercourses per month with their wives.” The second-class women (female slaves purchased by the state for the purpose) were ordered by the above statesman to render sexual services to clients in the state-controlled houses of prostitution.
Needless to say, revenues from the operation of the state-controlled houses of ill fame went directly to the state coffers. Solon reportedly made good use of the money – he built a temple in honor of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. We should note that Solon had a marvelous sense of humor.
Despite the measures taken, the morals of the ancient Greeks did not improve as years went by. There were slaves of both sexes, concubines, and hetaerae (highly cultured courtesans). All of the above were available, if only for a fee.
Compared with Athens in Solon’s time, Rome was a citadel of democracy even in times of the empire. The Roman brothels were “privatized” i.e. run on a basis of private enterprise. One of the infamous Roman brothels or “lupanaria” (from the Latin word “lupa”, a harlot) was unearthed during the 1862 excavation of Pompeii.
It would be an exaggeration to describe the establishment as being sumptuously fitted up. It was a two-story building. The first floor had a superintendent’s office, a toilet, and five cells measuring 2 by 2 square meters each. Over the door of each cell there was a tablet with the name of the occupant and her price. The cell usually contained a cot of about 1.5 meter in length, and a lamp of bronze or, in the lower dens, of clay, because there were no windows in the Romans houses of prostitution. The houses were easily found by the stranger, as an appropriate emblem appeared over the door. The emblem of Priapus was generally a carved figure, in wood or stone, and was frequently painted to resemble nature more closely. The size ranged from a few inches in length to about two feet.
The cells on the second floor were a bit more spacious. They had separate outside doors, which were apparently designed for the benefit of wealthier clients.
The walls of the cells were adorned with pictorial descriptions of various sexual positions and assorted graffiti e.g. “Avl was here” or “Gaius banged Archedica three times” etc.
The Roman houses of ill fame opened their doors to the public at 3 p.m. The opening hour was fixed by law in order to keep the Roman youths away from the temptations of the flesh so that they might engage in more decent activities e.g. physical exercises and combat training until late afternoon. Besides, the authorities represented by audiles (officials in charge of public buildings, markets, games etc.) regularly conducted sanitary inspections of the brothels. The audiles also raided the houses of sin in order to catch the unregistered sex workers. The latter procedure was especially important for the state treasury following the introduction a tax upon prostitutes by Gaius Caesar Caligula. One-eighth of a prostitute’s income was to be transferred to the state.
Daughters of joy wearing uniforms
The ancient Greeks had no problems whatsoever regarding the morals of troops as long as their small armies fought one another across the plains of Hellas. Homosexual relationships were quite common in many Dorian areas. In the 4th century B.C. , Thebes saw the creation of the Sacred Band, a battalion of homosexual lovers. The gay warriors of Thebes earned a reputation of fearless and skillful soldiers. Only Alexander the Great managed to defeat them. At the time, the Macedonians were regarded as semi-barbarians who knew nothing about “the most refined varieties of sensual pleasure.”
Mercenaries were in great supply in ancient Greece circa the 5th century B.C. Scores of “soldiers of fortune” would render their services to whoever was ready to pay – the Greeks or Persians or any other employer. The majority of mercenaries were quite well-off, and therefore preferred to wage war in comfort. There were normally accompanied by scores of prostitutes.
The practice of satisfying one’s bodily wants in between the hostilities resumed in Europe 18 centuries later as landsknechts or mercenary foot soldiers took to the battlefields. The troops commanded by the Duke of Burgundy Charles the Brave laid siege to the city of Neice in 1474. About 4,000 prostitutes accompanied the army. However, the siege took longer than expected. The duke ordered prostitutes to take part in the building of fortifications around the city. The “female battalion” was even awarded a banner. The enemy formally surrendered to the duke one year later.
She is not a whore; she is in the employ of a brothel
Prostitutes in medieval Europe could also “settle” in the cities. Back then, strict rules applied to every part of the city life. A city listed brothels located within the city limits as its property. Alternatively, brothels could be owned by a parish or nearby abbey.
No one frowned upon this kind of double standards in the Middle Ages. On the contrary, the higher was the rank of a brothel’s owner, the better it was for a client in terms of the quality of services and security provided by the brothel.
Brothels were managed by a pander or a madam who were, in fact, on the payroll of the “city government.” Applicants for the position had to obtain a letter of recommendation from the city officials or the clergy.
The brothel regulations were passed by every European country in the 15th century to regulate the relations between the management, clients, and inmates of the houses of prostitution. Some of the documents have been preserved to modern times.
The Ulm Statute can still be used as a good foundation for drawing up a constitution of a small country. For instance, there were there locks on the coffer where funds of a brothel were kept.
Likewise, there were three keys to open those locks. One key was kept by a brothel-keeper, another one by a cashier, and the third one by a representative of the prostitutes.
Married men along with monks and Jews were banned from visiting brothels. The Catholic Church watched over “the morality” of the clients in its own peculiar way. For example, non-Christian women could not get a job in a brothel. Besides, a brothel-keeper was supposed to allow his inmates to go to church. There were special seats booked for prostitutes in a church building. Prostitutes listed Mary Magdalene and Mary of Egypt among their patron saints.
Throughout its long and eventful history, prostitution has survived numerous attempts made by lawmakers in different countries to ban it or legitimize it, nationalize it or privatize it etc. However, all the attempts seem to have come short of the target. Prostitution is still alive and kicking.
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