Did You Know These About Prostitution?

  • Prostitution dates back to at least 2400 B.C. when it appeared on an ancient Sumerian list of professions along with doctor, scribe, barber and cook. Although very old, prostitution is not literally considered to be the “world’s oldest profession.”
  • Prostitution is illegal in the United States except in 10 rural counties in Nevada.
  • Indoor prostitution became legal in Rhode Island in 1980 due to an unintentional legal loophole created by legislators. The state enacted new legislation nearly thirty years later to close the loophole on Nov. 3, 2009.
  • On Nov. 2, 2004 two prostitution referendums went to the voters in the United States with 63.51% of voters in Berkeley, California wanting to keep prostitution a crime and 62.78% of voters in Churchill County, Nevada wanting to keep prostitution legal.
  • The same brothel in Nevada could cost an owner a $200 fee in Lander County, a $150,000 fee in Nye County, and up to 6 months in jail and/or $1,000 fine in Las Vegas.
  • In 1751, Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa banned short dresses and replaced waitresses with waiters to suppress prostitution.
  • Researchers have identified at least 25 types of prostitution by location (street, brothel, etc.), solicitation (CB radio, newspaper ad, etc.) and/or sexual practice (bondage, lap dance, etc.).
  • In Sweden, Norway, and Iceland selling sex is legal, but buying sex is illegal.
  • In Japan prostitution is illegal, but selling non-coital sex acts is legal.
  • Prostitution is criminalized, legalized, and decriminalized in Australia depending on the state.
  • In 2004 the number of US prostitution-related arrests ranged from California’s 14,506 to Vermont’s three.
  • Proponents of legal prostitution have included Ann Landers, the ACLU, and The Economist while opponents have included Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Susan B. Anthony.
  • Medieval canon lawyer Johannes Teutonicus, when defining prostitution, suggested that a woman who had sex with more than 23,000 men should be classified as a prostitute, although 40 to 60 would also do.
  • An estimated 1% of American women, or over one million people in the United States, have worked as prostitutes.
  • A sex laws chart from 1996 lists, for example, nine states and the District of Columbia as prohibiting fornication (sex outside of marriage), and fourteen states as prohibiting hetero oral sex.
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