Regulating Prostitution in the Provinces
The Ministry of Interior issued a decree on 21 November 1906 soliciting proposals for revision of regulation from all provincial governors on regulation in the large cities in their jurisdiction with large industrial installations or military garrisons. Respondents across Austria addressed four major issues: 1) the utility of regulating prostitution on the example of the tolerated brothels; 2) the danger prostitutes posed to public health; and less often, 3) the social origins of local prostitutes; and 4) the social profile of clients. Responses reveal varying attitudes toward, experiences with, and understandings of, regulation. They demonstrate an urban-rural division in attitudes toward the efficacy of regulated prostitution. The reactions underscore the difference between monitoring in many small-to-medium-sized municipalities, where police knew many of the actors personally, and the anonymity that prevailed in the Empire’s larger cities, where authorities often considered regulation the best of a series of bad solutions.
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