Prostitution as a Deviant Behavior in America
Columbus State University
Prostitution as a Deviant Behavior in America
Prostitution is a profession or crime seen throughout America but where did it all start and why? Looking at the history of prostitution will help to describe what prostitution is and what caused it throughout history and mainly in America. Also, understanding prostitution as deviant behavior will be come clearer through the discussion of socio-legal controls and their effectiveness. Prostitution and its causes
What is prostitution? Kendall (2007) defined prostitution as, “the sale of sexual service for money or goods without emotional attachment.” The service of prostitution that Kendall defined comes in various types. ProCon.org (2008) listed different types of prostitution such as “street”, “brothel”, “escort”, “private”, “window”, “doorway”, “transport” and various other types of prostitution. These types can be seen throughout the history of what is debated as one of the oldest professions in history. According to ProCon.org (2013) prostitution was first recognized in 2400BC in Sumerian records. Also, ProCon.org (2013) noted that prostitution was connected with temple services and was among the list of entertainers for the temple. Around this time in history prostitution appeared to be accepted as the norm and continued throughout as the norm through the BC era. In the AD era prostitution began to shift into a deviant behavior instead of being a norm. Meriam-Webster.com (n.d.) defined deviant as, “different from what is considered to be normal or morally correct.” Around 534 AD Justinian and Theodora started to address prostitution as an unacceptable behavior. ProCon.org (2013) noted, “They created laws that banished procuresses and brothel keepers from the capital, granted freedom to slaves forced into prostitution, and banned sex in public bathhouses.” So, during this time Justinian and Theodora were not actually punishing the prostitutes but, those who subject them to prostitution. In the Late 500s, the punishment for prostitution became more drastic than what had been previously done by Justinian and Theodora. For example, ProCon.org stated, “Girls and women born of free parents convicted of either practicing prostitution, or inducing debauchery, were condemned for the first offense to be flogged (300 strokes) and to be ignominiously expelled from the town,” which was the punishment put in place by the king of Visigoths of Spain. This example shows how prostitution began to be more and more seen as deviant. Prostitution in history was first seen mainly in areas of the world other than North America. Prostitution started to be seen finally during the colonial America era. In the earlier years of America prostitution was not to out of the norm. According to ProCon.org (2013), “Prostitution was not an offense in either English or American common law, and, prior to World War I, although being a prostitute was not an offense, prostitution was generally regulated as a specific sort of vagrancy.” ProCon.org (2013) also noted that prostitutes during Colonial America under law could only be charged with “adultery”, “fornication”, or “common nightwalkers” if charged. During this time prostitution as a norm and its increase could be contributed to women whom were migrant women that were already prostitutes. Grant (2013) mentions how in 1721 that there were fewer than 700 men in the Louisiana colony and the French government sent 80 women to the colony to marry up with some of the men. Grant (2013) also states, “Many of the migrant women, however, had been serving time for prostitution charges in French prisons, and upon arriving in the colony found the sex trade provided them more independence than any arranged marriage to settlers.” Instances such as the migrant women being sent to the Louisiana colony and them...
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