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Introduction: Criminalizing Commercial Sex

  • Julia Laite
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

‘The prostitute is the scapegoat for everyone’s sins, and few people care whether she is justly treated or not,’ wrote Alison Neilans, the outspoken feminist campaigner who led early twentieth-century campaigns to repeal laws directed against prostitutes, end the government regulation of prostitution, promote sexual health without coercive measures, and overturn the double standard of sexual morality.1 Like Josephine Butler a generation before, Neilans worked in relative obscurity, addressing a social problem that many were keen to denigrate or romanticize, but few were willing to examine carefully. ‘Good people have spent thousands of pounds in efforts to reform her;’ she continued. ‘Poets have written about her; essayists and orators have made her the subject of some of their most striking rhetoric; perhaps no class of people have been abused, persecuted, hated, or, alternatively, sentimentalized over as prostitutes have been, but one thing they have never had yet, and that is simple legal justice. Ought we not to secure legal justice for the “common prostitute” before we set out to reform her?’2

Keywords

Criminal Justice System Ordinary Citizen Metropolitan Police Police Division Police Commissioner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Alison Neilans, ‘Woman, Where are Those Thine Accusers?’, The Shield, 3, no. 6 (1922): 309.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Teresa Billington Greig, ‘The Truth About White Slavery’, The English Review, June 1913: 428–9.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Helen J. Self, Prostitution, Women and the Misuse of the Law: The Fallen Daughters of Eve (London, 2003), pp. 292–3.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    August Bebel, Women under Socialism (Fairfield, Gloucestershire, 2009), p. 143.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Hubert Stringer, Moral Evil in London (London, 1925), p. VII.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Gail Pheterson, The Prostitution Prism (Amsterdam, 1996), p. 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 13.
    Stefan Petrow, Policing Morals: The Metropolitan Police and the Home Office, 1870–1914 (Oxford, 1993).Google Scholar
  8. 27.
    William Lecky, A History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne (New York, 1869), pp. 282–3.Google Scholar
  9. 49.
    W.T. Stead, ‘The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon’, Part I, Pall Mall Gazette, 6 July 1885.Google Scholar
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    Cecil Chapman, The Poor Man’s Court of Justice: Twenty-Five Years as a Metropolitan Magistrate (London, 1925), p. 12.Google Scholar
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    John Lea, Crime and Modernity: Continuities in Left Realist Criminology (London, 2002), p. 16.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Julia Laite 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Laite

There are no affiliations available

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