Prostitution In America

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Prostitution in America has existed since the colonization of the present day United States and its first colony, Jamestown. Prostitution was classified and known differently than today or even one-hundred years ago. It has evolved in accordance to different times in America but never completely disappeared. The practice changed along with the development of the United States. The “world’s oldest profession” is and has been frowned upon and called morally wrong. Feminist disagree in terms of the morality of the practice, some say it further exploits women and others say it lets the women own their sexuality, body and contradicts society’s view of women. In The Lost Sisterhood by Ruth Rosen, she discusses prostitution in United States during …show more content…
Although it was stigmatized it was not officially illegal in nearly all states until during the progressive era in nineteen-fifteen. Before the criminalization of prostitution, prostitutes were shielded and exploited by the madams of the brothels they worked in. Madams were not violent in the way they exploited them but rather messed with the economic aspects of the job. The organized brothels gave a facade that there were more women involved with prostitution but there was not because during the progressive era there were more jobs than the nineteenth century. Rosen argues the red-light districts were created by the help of police and were only closed down if they failed to pay the clandestine fine and if women were arrested they were not sentenced to jail but were rather fined. The national criminalization of the women came about when it was time for men to go to war and prostitutes were carriers of the disease which led them to become “identified as a significant and dangerous internal domestic enemy.” Women were tagged as villains that spread the disease to the beloved soldiers. Local civilians also complained about red light districts to government officials and turned it to a state issue which further caused the government to get involved. The criminalization of prostitution led to a shift from semi-safe houses and brothels to male dominated exploitation of women. The power the women and the madam had disappeared because they needed further protection from police and street harassment. It was easy for prostitutes to turn to “both pimps and organized crime. In both cases, the physical violence faced rapidly increased.” The social evil did not disappear but rather found new ways to be

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