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Document Typology: Report
Methodology addressed by the publication:Parents pedagogy
Title of document: Prostitution and Its Regulation in Interwar Lithuania
Name of author(s): Valdas Pruskus
Name of publisher: Evolution of Science and Technology / Mokslo ir technikos raida, Volume 2,
Language of the publication: English
Language of the review: English
The paper analyses the spread of prostitution and the efforts of the state to regulate it in interwar Lithuania. It shows that in Lithuania, as in other Western countries of that time, the reasons for prostitution as a social phenomenon were analogical: economic poverty, low women’s salaries, unemployment, loneliness, loose sexual behaviour, alcohol, sexual ignorance. The outcome was analogical – the spread of venereal diseases. The way out of the situation had been finally found both in the Western countries and czarist Russia where the registration and observation of prostitution had been legalized. In interwar Lithuania the political parties did not have a unanimous point of view on the issue as well. In default of a unanimous point of view regarding prostitution acompromise was reached. It was agreed to solve the problem in an administrative way by implementing a compulsory registration of prostitutes which was believed to help to control the situation.
It is shown in the paper that Temporary rules on the regulation of prostitution adopted in Lithuania in 1919 and their application were evaluated ambiguously by society. The lawyers evaluated them especially critically referring to the restrictions of individual rights such as withdrawal of the passport from acitizen (even it was a prostitute) and provision of the registration book of a prostitute instead, various restraints concerning the flat, change of the place of residence, etc. Local abolitionists treated the rules as unfair and humiliating women.
Eventually the system of registration of prostitutes appeared to be effectless; it neither decreased the number of prostitutes nor gave expected results in fight against venereal diseases. The authoritarian ruling was getting stronger, and the President A. Smetona tried to demonstrate his will in the fight against that evil, which destroyed morality and family traditions, without abolishing the causes of the phenomenon and searching for positive decisions; therefore, in 1935 the “Law on fight against venereal diseases” was adopted, in which “the traces of police influence” still remained quite evident. The penal code was complemented with strict fines for prostitution, organization and keeping of brothels or other places of prostitution. In turn strict rules on the regulation of prostitution stimulated the emigration of prostitutes, which became the benefit for criminals who by trick transported prostitutes to the Western countries to work in brothels. Thus it stimulated the traffic in women.
Reviewer's comments on the document:
The development of catholic social ideas in Lithuania, possibilities of the interaction between economy and ethics under market conditions, sociology of religion and policy, intercultural and informal communication.The regulation of prostitution is changing as rapidly as its organization and sex workers have had more influence on this than usually recognized in either theory or research on prostitutes' rights. In Lithuania, the paper shows how elements of prohibition, legalization and decriminalization are variously adopted in response to specific interests and their political representation. With the focus on law reform, the impact of collectives is compared to that of other contemporary players in the politics of prostitution, including community groups, councils, the police and the sex industry itself. But attention is also paid to health and occupational initiatives, and the conditions promoting the self-regulation of sex work both by prostitutes and employers. The paper also argues that the role of collectives, together with changes in the wider regulatory context, reflect and reinforce increasing differentiation within prostitution.
Where to find it:

V Pruskus - Evolution of Science and Technology/Mokslo ir …, 2011 -

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