Prostitution is known as the oldest profession in the world. It has been recorded vastly throughout history, dating as back as the Ancient Near East. Data gathered by historians evidences how there were multiple temples which were dedicated to different gods and goddesses.
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In these places, sacred prostitution occurred regularly. Throughout most of modern history, the practice of prostitution is commonly perceived as a taboo subject as it is surrounded by stigmatization. Countries around the globe, in the past, have attempted to eradicate the practice by marginalizing and criminalizing those whom are sex workers. Throughout the nineteenth century prostitution in Italy faced a tumultuous path, with laws in its favor and laws against it. Several people in high power positions shunned prostitution and thought of it as a crime and, therefore, treated as one; Meanwhile, other leaders agreed that the best solution to contain it was to legally regulate it.
In the early nineteenth century, prostitution was prohibited in Rome by Pope Pius IX, who deemed it a sin and, consequently, a crime. The act of committing this immorality was punishable in a brutal manner: such as imprisonment, fines, torture and various types of harassment but, the way the authorities enforced the regulation was labeled inconsistent and ineffective. Despite the active efforts of eradicating the sex trade, women still publicly continued their services in street corners and in brothels in Rome. Other cities, such as Palermo, enforced laws inspired by the regulation the French had implemented. In Palermo, the license of toleration was carried out; this required prostitutes to receive medical examinations for any venereal disease. This regulation failed as well, given that various health officials and policemen would turn a blind eye to the rising numbers of unapproved prostitutes. Infected prostitutes were sent to special hospitals, that were inefficient when containing the diseases.
The spread of venereal diseases was a fear, among the Italian society, that spread like wildfire. Prostitutes represented a symbol in the Italian middle-high class society that overlapped with several marginal groups-the idle poor, the criminal, the sexual deviant, and the woman-in one figure. Women were oppressed even if they came from rich backgrounds, but when a woman did not fit the criteria of daughter,
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