Prostitution in India Scholars have studied the history of prostitution in India from ancient times to the present. These courtesans would dance, sing, recite poetry and entertain their suitors at mehfils.
Like the geisha tradition in Japan, their main purpose was to professionally entertain their guests. While sex was often incidental, it was not assured contractually.
The most popular or highest-class tawaifs could often pick and choose between the best of their suitors. They contributed to music, dance, theatre, film and the Urdu literary tradition. They were in charge of taking care of the temple, performing rituals they learned and practicing Bharatanatyam and other classical Indian arts traditions. This status allowed them to enjoy a high social status. The popularity of devadasis seems to have reached its pinnacle around the 10th and 11th centuries.
The rise and fall in the status of devadasis can be seen to be running parallel to the rise and fall of Hindu temples. Due to the destruction of temples by Islamic invaders, the status of the temples fell very quickly in North India and slowly in South India.
As the temples became poorer and lost their patron kings, and in some cases were destroyed, the devadasis were forced into a life of poverty and prostitution. Women and girls from the Caucasus , Africa , Central Asia and Europe were captured and served as concubines in the harems of the Arab World.
However, Sunnis have fixed-term marriages, such as nikah urfi , nikah Misyar , and nikah halala. Fundamentalist Sunnis called for sexual jihad. Shias deem all sexual relations outside of proper marriage the only being nikah or nikah mutah as illegal, forbidden and against the sunnah.
Like the Shia, Sunnis regard prostitution as sinful and forbidden. These lives of borderline starvation drove many women out of the rural countryside to the port side cities of China. Many of the women who took part in the prostitution of China were either sold into the industry or willingly joined.
Due to their lack of economic stability, parents were unable to feed all the mouths of the house and often sold their daughters into the industry. The popularity of this industry stemmed from the over population in rural villages, and an overall life of poverty for the majority of Chinese families.
Southeast Asia[ edit ] In Southeast Asia, prostitution was mostly prevalent in Singapore , due to its active ports. Certain districts of Singapore were dedicated brothel districts sanctioned by the colonial governments. Merchant ships carried large crews of men, who lacked the company of women for days on end.
As these ships docked in Asian ports, like Singapore, they were drawn to the market of prostitution. This higher demand for the company of a woman created the need for these brothel districts.
These mistaken assumptions were due to the Indian city of Goa being a central base for the Portuguese East India Company and also due to a significant portion of the crew on Portuguese ships being Indian Christians. Oiran were courtesans in Japan during the Edo period.
To entertain their clients, oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry and calligraphy as well as sexual services, and education was considered essential for sophisticated conversation. Many became celebrities of their times outside the pleasure districts.
Their art and fashions often set trends among wealthy women. The last recorded oiran was in Although all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage were regarded as sinful by the Roman Catholic Church , prostitution was tolerated because it helped prevent the greater evils of rape , sodomy and masturbation. After the decline of organized prostitution of the Roman empire, many prostitutes were slaves. However, religious campaigns against slavery and the growing marketisation of the economy turned prostitution back into a business.
By the High Middle Ages it was common to find town governments ruling that prostitutes were not to ply their trade within the town walls , but they were tolerated outside, only because these areas were beyond the jurisdiction of the authorities.
In many areas of France and Germany town governments came to set aside certain streets as areas where prostitution could be tolerated. This allowed the government to outlaw any prostitution taking place outside these brothels.
In much of Northern Europe a more tolerant attitude could be found towards prostitution. An outbreak of syphilis in Naples during , which later swept across Europe, may have originated from the Colombian Exchange. By the early 16th century the association between prostitutes, plague and contagion emerged, causing brothels and prostitution to be outlawed by secular authority. Magdalene Homes were particularly popular and peaked in the early fourteenth century. They sometimes wore very short hair or no hair at all, and sometimes they wore veils in societies where other women did not wear them.
Ancient codes regulated the crime of a prostitute that dissimulated her profession. They also were as sex workers. In the 18th century, presumably in Venice , prostitutes started using condoms made with catgut or cow bowel. In the s, prostitution was becoming more visible in American cities, and with the professionalization of police forces, visible prostitutes such as streetwalkers risked arrest. In , prostitution was legalized and regulated in the the city of St.
However, due to protests and demonstrations organized by women and members of the clergy, Missouri legislators repealed the legislation allowing regulated prostitution. The most famous were the New Orleans women who posed for E. In the 19th century legalized prostitution became a public controversy as France and then the United Kingdom passed the Contagious Diseases Acts.
This legislation mandated pelvic examinations for suspected prostitutes. It applied not only to the United Kingdom and France, but also to their overseas colonies. Many early feminists fought to repeal these laws, either on the grounds that prostitution should be illegal and therefore not government regulated or because it forced degrading medical examinations upon women.
A similar situation existed in the Russian Empire. This included prostitutes operating out of government-sanctioned brothels given yellow internal passports signifying their status and were subjected to weekly physical exams.
Leo Tolstoy 's novel Resurrection describes legal prostitution in 19th-century Russia. During the 19th century the British in India began to adopt the policy of social segregation, but they continued to keep their brothels full of Indian women.
Chinese women were frequently sold by their families and taken to the camps as prostitutes, and were often forced to send their earnings back to the family in China. She nursed victims of an influenza epidemic, earning her acceptance in the community and the support of the sheriff. The townspeople were shocked when she was murdered in and they honoured her with a lavish funeral and hanging of her assailant.
This led to the generally declined treatment of women. It was not uncommon for brothels in Western towns to operate openly, without the stigma that was beginning to emerge in East Coast cities as a result of anti-prostitution activism.
In the early 19th century British authorities decided it was best to have lower-class white, Asian, Middle Eastern and Aboriginal women service the prisoners and thereby keep peace while maintaining strong class lines that isolated British gentlemen and ladies from the lower elements. Prostitution was so profitable that it was easy to circumvent the legal boundaries.
When Australians took control by they wanted a "white Australia" and tried to exclude or expel non-white women who might become prostitutes. However, feminist activists fought against Australia's discriminatory laws that led to varying levels of rights for women, races and classes.
By new attitudes toward racial harmony began to surface. These were inspired by white Australians to rethink their racist policies and adopt more liberal residency laws that did not focus on sexual or racial issues.
They added the theme of casual temporary marriages. If found infected, a woman could be sentenced to a hospital or a farm colony until cured. Women were told to report to a health officer where they were coerced to submit to an invasive examination. Immigrants, minorities and the poor were primarily targeted.
In this convention some nations declared reservations towards prostitution. Karl Marx thought of it as "only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the laborer," and considered its abolition to be necessary to overcome capitalism. Friedrich Engels considered even marriage a form of prostitution, and Vladimir Lenin found sex work distasteful. Communist governments often took wide-ranging steps to repress prostitution immediately after obtaining power, although the practice always persisted.
In the countries that remained nominally communist after the end of the Cold War, especially China, prostitution remained illegal but was nonetheless common. In many current or former communist countries the economic depression brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union led to an increase in prostitution. The term " comfort women " became a euphemism for the estimated , mostly Korean and Chinese women who were forced into prostitution in Japanese military brothels during the war.
Sex tourism was typically undertaken internationally by tourists from wealthier countries. Author Nils Ringdal alleged that three out of four men between the ages of 20 and 50 who have visited Asia or Africa have paid for sex. This included the prohibition of buying, but not selling, of sexual services. This means that only the client commits a crime in engaging in paid sex, not the prostitute.
Such laws were enacted in Sweden , Norway , Iceland , Canada , Northern Ireland , France , and the Republic of Ireland , and are also being considered in other jurisdictions. These laws are an attempt to protect the worker and embrace the fallout of the sexual revolution , meaning sex will happen, and for it to happen safely and respectfully, there must be "free-form" regulation.
The BBC wrote in that devadasis are "sanctified prostitutes. While this law did not criminalise the act of prostitution itself, it did prohibit such activities as running a brothel and soliciting for paid sex.
Concerns were voiced over white British adolescent girls being used as prostitutes by Pakistani immigrants in the s. These girls were wanted by several police departments in the early s and were described as "good-looking and attractive, not of common appearance Prostitution was made illegal in almost all states between and largely due to the influence of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union , which was influential in the banning of drug use and was a major force in the prohibition of alcohol.
In the prostitution district Storyville in New Orleans was closed down by the Federal government over local objections. In Deadwood, South Dakota prostitution, while technically illegal, was tolerated by local residents and officials for decades until the last madam was brought down by state and federal authorities for tax evasion in Prostitution remained legal in Alaska until , and is still legal in some rural counties of Nevada , including areas outside of Las Vegas.
For more, see Prostitution in Nevada. These laws, often known as felony prostitution laws, require anyone arrested for prostitution to be tested for HIV. If the test comes back positive the suspect is informed that any future arrest for prostitution will be a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
Penalties for felony prostitution vary in the states that have such laws, with maximum sentences of typically 10 to 15 years in prison.