The law required all prostitutes to register with the police, live in licensed brothels, undergo biweekly health examinations, and be treated in a special hospital if they became infected with venereal disease. This strictly regulated system produced numerous records, which Mary Gibson has used to examine how the laws affected the lives of women engaged in the trade. Gibson builds social profiles of individual prostitutes that include level of education, marital status, age, and former occupation. Why the Italian government instituted regulation and why the policy persisted in spite of evidence of its failings are questions she addresses.
Early feminists and some democrats protested the laws as being unjust and promoting inequality of the sexes. Twenty-eight years after the law was passed, in 1888, challengers succeeded in getting it liberalized, but their triumph lasted only three years. In 1891 regulation returned and stayed in place until 1958, when the laws were finally overturned. Italy was not alone in formulating new legislation to control prostitution, but it was one of the last of the modern European nations to deregulate it.
Table of Contents
|List of Tables||ix|
|Part I||The State||11|
|3.||Social Profile of Prostitutes||79|
|4.||Prostitutes and Police: Surveillance||113|
|5.||Prostitutes and Doctors: Examination||151|