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Behind the closed doors of early America

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It is Estimated that America had between 300,000 to 500,000 prostitutes in 1912 and prostitution was a three billion dollar a year business(6 ).

In 1913 Barratt O'Hara Illinois Lieutenant-Governor and chairman of the senate vice committ said about the problem of prostitution "that the solution of the problem [of prostitution] is the establishment of a minimum wage for women. . .. In entering the business world the seclusion of the home is lost, and girls become more masculine in their ideas and modes of life. By the establishment of the minimum wage the salaries of men ultimately will be increased. This will make it possible for them to provide better for the home, enable young men to marry, and thus, to a great degree, at least, make it unnecessary for women to seek employment." (7 ).

Before World War I, Prostitution was not a crime under either English or American common law. Prostitution was regulated under specific sort of vagrancy laws. Prostitutes were punished under laws against adultery or fornication or for being "common nightwalkers"--women who strolled the streets at night for immoral purposes. nightwalker laws hail as far back as colonial America, which indicates the presence of prostitutes. brothels were criminalized under ordinances against "keeping a bawdy house,". Solicitation for prostitution was a statutory offense in 14 states and prostitutes had been classified vagrants as in 28 states. 2 states had laws against the male customers of prostitutes(9 ).

The American age of consent law is based on English common law. The age started at twelve until 1576 the age was lowered to ten. any sexual relations with an underage female without the benift of clergy was a felony(10 ).

America, prostitutes, prostitution, law, nightwalkers, colonial, consent

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