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Prostitution is not prohibited in Holland and most of Europe? Where are the facts to back this up. I believe prostitution is actually against the law in Holland, although the authorities turn a blind eye (i may be wrong about this)

I don't know of any other European countries where prostitution is legal. The only place i know of is the state of Nevada in the US.

Maybe i'm wrong - JamieTheFoool

My $0.02 says that it's illegal in Sweden. --Pinkunicorn

Uhhhh - and though prostitution is USED in many (shall we say 'all'?)societies, prostitutes are certainly scorned in scoieties touched by, say, Hinduism and Buddhism. --MichaelTinkler


  1. What do you mean hinduism and buddhism are negative about prostitutes? what is that all about?
  2. you guys dont mention lap dances
  3. you dont mention the prostitute's rights movements
  4. you keep saying 'universally shunned' and all that, well, i think some of these sex positive feminists might have a different opinion
  5. how come all the people writing articles are male? Can't you guys advertise in ms. magazine or something? - send us money and we will.

I edited your otherwise valid points to remove troll-like behaviour. These are decent issues, why not research and write about it yourself?

--- Regarding the situation in the Netherlands: Prostitution has always been legal, but holding a brothel was not. That is, the prostitute and the customer were legal, but the pimp was not. However, this was understandably not prosecuted. In October 2000 a new law went into effect where also this was made legal. So, nowadays prostitution is fully legal (provided no minors or illegal immigrants are prostituted, taxes are paid, municipal regulations are adhered to and such).

Regarding Sweden, I think I read somewhere that it was made illegal quite recently. -- Andre Engels

Correction and/or clarification: In Sweden, prostitution itself is not a crime, but purchase of prostitution sevices is. Strange but true. --Anders T?rlind

Oooh - and in a bizarre opposite to the situation in Holland, in the city of Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1980s and 90s in response to the competing pressures of neighborhood groups and the convention trade the City came to a modus vivendi - streetwalkers were prosecuted but houses of prostitution were not. Prostitution remained illegal but tolerated. Now this is mere anecdote - I'm sure you can't find it anywhere stated thus in the Atlanta Journal Constitution archives, but it was all over the alternative press. It wasn't the sex, it wasn't the exploitation, it was the sidewalk nuisance that irritated people. --MichaelTinkler

... Prostitution is legal in small counties in Nevada. It's heavily regulated though and can only legally take place in licensed brothels. --AxelBoldt

It is not legal in Las Vegas, itself, or the rest of surrounding Clark County. An interesting bit of trivia is that the IRS briefly owned and auctioned off the Mustang Ranch, the first legal brothel in Nevada. --[Belltower]]

The relevant law is NRSNRS 244.345 (Dancing halls, escort services, entertainment by referral services and gambling games or devices; limitation on licensing of houses of prostitution.):

8. In a county whose population is 400,000 or more, the license board shall not grant any license to a petitioner for the purpose of operating a house of ill fame or repute or any other business employing any person for the purpose of prostitution.
Which I believe only rules out Clark (Las Vegas) and Carson (State Capital) Counties. ---Jagged

Not sure about Europe, but there would be at least a few countries there where it is legal. Holland, Germany, and the England would be my first guesses.

It is legal in parts of Australia, with regulations that vary from state to state. Definitely legal in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, for prostitutes working in brothels. For further information try then go to the relevant state or territory link and search for "prostitution". Then try to understand the maze of ammendments and horrible legal language:-) gives (some of) the ACT rules. The NSW situation is spread over lots of acts and ammendments and will be harder to pin down. Alternatively, just look in the phone books for Sydney or Canberra where there are plenty of brothels openly advertising.

out of idle curiosity, what classificatory heading do they use in the Yellow Pages or Business Listings?

Escorts and brothels are legal and common in Victoria as well, with restrictions (zoning restrictions, maximum size, can't advertise for sex workers, etc. etc.). Streetwalking is illegal, but there have been serious discussions about whether the restriction should be lifted in certain areas. -- Robert Merkel

Prostitutuin is definately not legal in England or any other part of the United Kingdom, or Ireland for that matter. I'm pretty sure it's illegal in Germany too, and france, and Spain. - JamieTheFoool

Prostitution itself is legal in the UK, but there are laws against various related activities. --Zundark

On a totally different note, I believe I heard somewhere that various primates also show behaviour that could be classified as prostitution. Anyone who have information about this would do well to add it to the page. --Anders T?rlind

Prostitution is legal in Germany. All big cities have areas where streetwalkers are allowed; these zones are set my municipal governments. Most cities have city-licensed brothels. Apartment prostitution is widespread and legal. Prostitution does not count as a regular profession and prostitutes are not elligible for typical German worker benefits such as health, unemployment, accident and disability insurance, social security, guaranteed vacation, right to strike etc. They cannot join private health insurance plans unless they lie about their job. The current government is about to change that and accept prostitution as a profession.

A quirk of civil law makes it possible that a customer of a prostitute may refuse to pay after the fact without culpability (since the contract was "against the good morals"). If the prostitute refuses services after having been paid, she is prosecuted for fraud. This is also being changed.

Maintaining a luxurious brothel is a grey area: the owner can be prosecuted for "furtherance of prostitution" which is, along with pimping, illegal. Mostly, the luxurious brothels are tolerated though, unless they employ illegal immigrants or are owned by organized crime.

There are also lots of fly-by-night brothels where foreign prostitutes (from Eastern Europe, Thailand, Africa, South America) are held against their will, which is of course illegal.

Prostitution is legal in Spain too, but I don't have details.

please understand that I am not trying to be snide about German bureaucracy, but if it's not a 'regular' profession with health care access, is it legal or is it a tolerated sideline for some people who need grey income? In America this would be like that lovely line on a 1040 tax form where one may report illegal earnings. The difference between Code law and Common law (not that I'm an historian of law with good examples at my fingertips) leads me to wonder if toleration is a more important classification in Code law states. The existence of zones in cities - again, are these zones of non-prosecution or are they zoning code in the American sense? I ask, Axel, because you - ahem - seem to know.
It is legal in the sense that there is no law against prostitution. When I hear "tolerated", I usually think of something that is technically illegal but generally not prosecuted, such as driving 60mph on an US highway; this is not the case for prostitution in Germany. Prostitutes have to pay taxes but often don't since they work for cash. Until recently, prostitutes were required to get (free) regular health checks, but that has been stopped beginning this year I believe, except in Bavaria. Prostitutes have to be registered with health authorities, but many aren't. Prostitutes who work the streets outside zones or who work in a brothel without a license are subject to fines, but mostly it is ignored. When police raid brothels, they only look for illegal immigrants. --AxelBoldt
That's my understanding as well. Throughout most of the world, there are few actual statutes prohibiting prostitution itself except in the US and Muslim countries, though many prohibit associated activities. In most of the the US, there are speecific statutes against prostitution, except in a few rural areas in Nevada, Wyoming, and elsewhere. There are also places like San Francisco where it is in fact illegal, but generally tolerated, in the sense that police rarely exercise their prerogative to prosecute prostitutes unless they do something else to bother someone. There are also many places where one can purchase services that might be considered prostitution in some jurisdictions but not others. To answer an earlier question in this discussion, look in the phone book under "Escorts", or "Outcall Massage". -- LDC
I could not verify the Wyoming claim. See [1] --AxelBoldt
Guess I'm out of date or misremembered that one. There is some other western state that had legal brothels relatively recently. --LDC

The comment that male prostitution for female clients is negligible sounded like an exaggeration. While they are undoubtedly rare compared to female prostitutes, they do exist.

Then there's arrangement like the one that George Peppard's character had in My Fair Lady. I wonder how common those are? But that might fall outside prostitution proper (ditto Anna Nicole Smith).

Where do people who work in porn films fit in this article?

They don't. A Californian prosecutor once tried to prosecute porn actors as prostitutes and was laughed out of court. Porn actors don't offer sexual services for money, they act out sexual situations for money. --AxelBoldt
Well, then, do you think it's worth explaining that distinction in the main article? --Robert Merkel

Could surely be done if it is considered to be necessary. Frankly, personally I never saw the connection between porn actors and prostitutes; isn't it clear that they are different occupations? --AxelBoldt

I wrote: "In many rich countries, illegal immigrants work in prostitution, quite commonly against their will." I'm not sure if "quite commonly" is the right choice of words. I know only the situation in Germany, and you'll find news reports maybe once a month about prostitutes being freed by police, so it definitely exists. It also is doubtlessly true that many foreign prostitutes work in Germany on their own choosing: it is the quickest way to make lots of money without an education. Now I don't know whether forced or unforced prostitution among immigrants is more common, and I don't think there are any statistics. So is "quite commonly" a good choice of words or is it not neutral enough? --AxelBoldt

Well, I would say that "quite" serves the same as "very," which presupposes that the author's idea and the reader's idea of something are the same. So "commonly" by itself would probably serve, or you could duck statistics with the conveniently vague "often." --KQ

"Law enforcement is typically concentrated against establishments engaged in sexual slavery, against establishments owned by organized crime and against forms of prostitution that generate citizen complaints." ... For this to be balanced, it should be added that the police have traditionally participated by accepting favors from prostitutes and in extorting money from prostitutes.

I deleted "eliminating sexual slavery" from the list of reasons given for heavy regulation of prostitution. I have never heard that as a justification, nor can I see how it would work. Nevada for instance explicitly mentions STD control (and mandates condoms), but sexual slavery is not mentioned. Countries usually focus on public health issues, making sure that the workers get health checks and are registered with the government etc., and they also want to control where prostitution takes place. Sexual slavery is as prevalent in regulating countries as it is in prohibitory countries. Illegal immigrants in Germany for instance cannot be registered as prostitutes and are therefore easy to exploit by organized crime. Complete decriminalization like in the Netherlands seems to be the better strategy if one wanted to give exploited women a way out. --AxelBoldt

Axel, the theory goes something along the lines of that customers of prostitutes will prefer to use legal rather than illegal brothels, because of the reduction in risk of catching STDs and of legal sanction. In legal brothels, authorities can monitor the situation to ensure that all workers are legally entitled to work in the jurisdiction concerned, are not coerced into working there, aren't addicted to drugs etc. etc. Of course, the continued existence of illegal brothels puts the lie to that argument, as you say, but it is advanced in Australia.

One, George Peppard was not in My Fair Lady -- it was Breakfast at Tiffany's a howling mistake!

Two, This article reads like a prurient high-schooler's views of prostitution -- based largely on TV movies.

This needs to have some serious analysis of social implications, political positions, and generally some meat injected.

Nobody ever claimed the article was perfect in its present state. If you have knowledge in the area, please share it with us. --Robert Merkel