Regulated prostitution

While prostitution is illegal in a number of countries, prostitution is legal, but regulated in many others, and in a few jurisdictions in countries where prostitution is otherwise illegal.

In a great many countries, such as the United Kingdom, prostitution itself is not illegal, but many activities often associated with it, such as soliciting and pimping, are illegal.

In some jurisdictions, such as Nevada, Switzerland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and several Australian states, prostitution is legal but regulated. In others, such as the Philippines, prostitution, whilst technically illegal, is in practice tolerated by the authorities and subject to regulation.

Such approaches are taken with the stance that prostitution is impossible to eliminate and thus these societies have chosen to regulate it in ways that reduce the more undesirable consequences. Goals of such regulations include controlling sexually transmitted disease, reducing sexual slavery, controlling where brothels may operate and dissociating prostitution from crime syndicates.

In the Netherlands & New Zealand legalisation of prostitution has similar objectives, as well as improving health and working conditions for the women and weakening the link between prostitution and criminality.

Some countries display official "no prostitutes here" signs to indicate areas where it is illegal to solicit a prostitute. In countries where prostitution is legal it is usual for the practice to be restricted to particular areas. These signs are used to indicate areas in which it is not legal for such activities. These signs can be seen in Malaysia and Iraq. In Germany, the use of the signs during the Football World Cup 2006 was considered.

Mandatory health checks

A few jurisdictions require that prostitutes undergo regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases.

In Nevada, state law requires that registered brothel prostitutes be checked weekly for several sexually transmitted diseases and monthly for HIV; furthermore, condoms are mandatory for all oral sex and sexual intercourse. Brothel owners may be held liable if customers become infected with HIV after a prostitute has tested positive for the virus.

Labour laws

The regulation of prostitution is problematic because standard labour regulations cannot be applied to prostitution. The typical relation between employer and employee where the employer is in a position of authority over the employee is - in the case of prostitution - viewed by many as contrary to the physical integrity of the prostitute. It is forbidden to order a person to have sex on a given moment at a given place. Many sex operators also don't want to pay social security contributions which comes with paid labor. Therefore many prostitutes - in countries where prostitution is regulated - are officially listed as independent contractors. Sex operators typically operate as facilitators only and don't interfere with the prostitutes. For instance, exploratory interviews of prostitutes by the sex operators to filter out victims of human trafficking could be interpreted by the tax department as a relation of authority between employer and employee. It's therefore easy for human traffickers to place their women in legal sex businesses. The major benefits of regulating prostitution therefore are lost.

Loans and insurances

It is difficult for prostitutes and sex operators to acquire loans and insurances, because banks and insurance companies often refuse to do business with whom they often view as criminals, despite prostitution and operating prostitution being legal.

Status of unregulated prostitution

The existence of regulated prostitution generally implies that prostitution is illegal outside of the regulated context.

For example, Nevada has laws against engaging in prostitution outside of licensed brothels, against encouraging others to become prostitutes, and against living off the proceeds of a prostitute. All of these behaviors are quite common, however.

Sanctified prostitution

Though prostitution is illegal in India, through the system of Devadasis whereby daughters are groomed by parents for the profession at a young age. Such devadasis are well versed in song and dance skills.

See also



South America

North America


External links

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