The laws concerning prostitution
considerably around the world. In some jurisdictions prostitution
is illegal. In other places prostitution itself (exchanging sex for
money) is legal, but most surrounding activities (such as
soliciting in a public place, operating a brothel and other forms
of pimping) are illegal, often making it very difficult to engage
in prostitution without breaking any law. In a few jurisdictions
prostitution is legal and regulated.
Moral opposition (and legal prohibition) of prostitution come from
two different sides: conservative and religious values associated
with right wing politics
feminist values associated with left
Prostitution plays a different role in each country today.
is illegal in most
countries in Africa
. Nevertheless, it is
common, driven by the widespread poverty
many sub-Saharan African
countries, and is one of the drivers for the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Africa
. Social breakdown and
poverty caused by civil war
African countries has caused further increases in the rate of
prostitution in those countries. For these reasons, some African
countries have also become destinations for sex tourism
AIDS infection rates are particularly high among African sex
workers. Long distance truck drivers have been identified as a
group with the high-risk behaviour of sleeping with prostitutes and
a tendency to spread the infection along trade routes in the
region. Infection rates of up to 33% were observed in
this group in the late 1980s in Uganda,
Kenya and Tanzania.
, the main characteristic of the region
is the very big discrepancy between the laws which exist on the
books and what occurs in practice. For example, in Thailand prostitution
is illegal, but in practice it is tolerated and regulated, and the
country is a destination for sex
Such situations are common in many Asian
countries. In these countries there is a very strong double
standard: while it is considered acceptable for men to use the
services of the prostitutes, the prostitutes themselves are
stigmatized by the whole society, as "respectable" women are
expected to refrain from sexual activity until marriage.
The most common legal system in the European Union
is that which allows
prostitution itself (the exchange of sex for money) but prohibits
the associated activities (brothels, pimping etc) in an attempt to
make it more difficult to engage in prostitution.
Sweden, Norway and Iceland it is
illegal to pay for sex (the client commits a crime, but not the
The reason for this law is the belief that
prostitution is a form of exploitation of women and male dominance
over women, and also the need to prevent human trafficking and
Sweden become the first country in the world to make it a
crime to pay for sex, but not to be a prostitute.
attracted international attention and became known as "the Swedish
model". Some saw it as a victory of feminism and gender equality
(especially since Sweden is ranked as the world leader in terms of
gender equality), others (including sex positive feminists
law was passed in Norway (in 2009)
and in Iceland (in
Netherlands, prostitution is legal, regulated, accepted by
society and very common (in 2003 it was estimated that in Amsterdam, one woman in 35 was working as prostitute,
compared to one in 300 in London).
majority of these women are foreigners.
enforcement of the anti-prostitution laws varies by country, One
example is Belgium, where
brothels (and pimping) are illegal, but in practice they are
tolerated, operate quite openely and in some parts of the country
the situation is similar with that from neighboring Netherlands.
Prostitution is illegal in most of the ex-communist
countries of Eastern Europe
. Here prostitution was
outlawed by the former communist
and these countries chose to keep it illegal even after the fall of
Prostitution laws in the United States are determined at the state
level. The practice is illegal in all but one of its 50
Nevada is the only
US state which allows some legal
prostitution in some of its counties.
Currently 8 out of
Nevada's 16 counties have active brothels. Prostitution outside
these brothels is illegal throughout the state; prostitution is
illegal in the major metropolitan areas (Las Vegas, Reno, and
Prostitution is heavily regulated by the
state of Nevada. See Prostitution
Prsostitution in Rhode Island was outlawed in 2009.
See Prostitution in Rhode
Argentina prostitution itself (exchanging sex for money) is
legal, but organized prostitution (brothels, prostitution rings, pimping etc) is illegal.
According to Article
19 of the Constitution: ‘private actions that in no way offend
order and public morals or do damage to a third party are reserved
to be judged by God and fall outside the competence of
- Swissinfo.ch, May 15, 2003. Retrieved August
- 2008 Human Rights Reports: Argentina