sin, unavoidable evil, or recognized profession?
The analysis of prostitution regulation in Europe shows that there is no clear regulatory trend towards either more authoritarian or more permissive regulation. While some countries left their regulatory style unchanged, others moved towards a permissive style of regulating prostitutes and clients. A third group of countries has moved in the opposite direction by further restricting legal prostitution. The case studies on Sweden and Germany show that fundamental reforms are possible when two conditions are fulfilled: first, a high ideological fit between governmental preferences and the position of relevant interest groups or social movements, such as feminist movements; and second, these social interests are characterized by a highly coherent and homogenous structure and dispose of privileged political access points. The comparison of Sweden and Germany also demonstrates that—depending on the position advanced by powerful social groups—the presence of these conditions might result in highly diverse regulatory outputs.
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