International Timeline

1860s

 

India

 

Contagious Dideases Acts are enforced in India.  All prostitutes living within military areas are registered, for a fee, and medically examined.  Refusal to comply can result in imprisonment.

 

They are repealed in 1888 under pressure from the international abolitionist movement.

 

1897

 

India

 

Re-introduction of medical checks, but on a voluntary basis and disconnected from registration scheme.

 

1904

 

International

 

The International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic is agreed and signed by 13 countries.

 

It is the first of a series of international agreements of trafficking.

 

1903

 

Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)

 

The Morality Act allows for imprisonment if a European (i.e. white) prostitute is found with an African man: she can be sentenced for up to 2 years, he for up to 5.  One of the few examples where the buyer faced harsher sanctions.

 

1910

 

International

 

The International Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave Trade defines trafficking as procuring, transporting or forcing women abroad for immoral purposes.  Suspected traffickers may be extradited.

 

1912

 

Netherlands

 

Brothels are made illegal.

 

c.1917

 

USSR

 

After the revolution, the Soviet Union abolishes the Czarist system of police and medical regulation and closes brothels.  The state is said to be ‘against prostitution and not the prostitute’, with measure introduced for re-integration.

 

1923

 

International

 

The League of Nations establishes a body to investigate the extent and nature of traffic in women and children.  Reporting  in 1927, it concludes that ‘many hundreds of women and girls...are transported each year...Many of these... were prostitutes in their own country, but nearly always there was evidence that their movements were controlled by others.’

 

1933

 

Germany

 

Prostitutes are included in Nazi policies of compulsory sterilization of those deemed unfit to have children.

 

1934

 

Turkey

 

The Turkish government re-institutes a regulatory system: women 21 and over can register and work from licensed brothels, and must submit to health checks.

 

1938

 

Netherlands

 

Public promotion of prostitution is banned, resulting in a crackdown on street prostitution and window-soliciting.

 

1946

 

France

 

‘Maison tolŕées’ – a long-standing system of brothels – are outlawed.

 

1949

 

International

 

UN Convention on Traffic in Persons and Exploitation of Traffic in Others is adopted. It states ‘prostitution and the accompanying evil of the traffic in persons for the purpose of prostitution are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person and endanger the welfare of the individual, the family and the community.’

 

1952

 

Italy

 

Brothels are made illegal.

 

1958

 

Japan

 

An anti-prostitution law leads to a clamp down, and campaigners note that prostitution move to indoor venues.

 

1960

 

Thailand

 

The Prostitution Suppression Act makes prostitution illegal.  Despite this American military forces fighting in Vietnam are welcomed for rest and recuperation (R&R).  Here and in the Philippines a large, commercial sex industry develops as a result.

 

1971

 

USA

 

Brothels are legalised in the State of Nevada, USA.

 

Current state law requires registered prostitutes to undergo weekly medical and monthly HIV tests.

 

1973

 

USA

 

COYOTE – Call of Your Old and Tired Ethics – forms in San Francisco to oppose police harassment and campaign for de-criminalisation.

 

1975

 

France

 

Prostitutes in Lyon protest against plan to tax earnings and harassment by police.

 

1982

 

Holland

 

The First Whores Congress is held in Amsterdam.  The Second Congress, a year later in the European Parliament, attracts over 100 women from 20 countries.  It seeks to decriminalise prostitution, improve working conditions and make periodic health checks compulsory for all citizens.

 

1985

 

International

 

The First Congress of the International Committee for Prostitutes’ Rights issues the World Charter For Prostitutes’ Rights.  It also calls for decriminalisation of all aspects of adult prostitution resulting from individual decision, opposes mandatory health checks and systematic zoning.

 

 

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