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Report No. 64

"S. 207.12-Prostitution and related offences.

(1) Prostitution, A person who engages, or offers or agrees to engage in sexual activity for hire, or is an inmate of a house of prostitution, or enters this state or any political sub-division thereof to engage in prostitution, commits a petty misdemeanor

The following comment was annexed to the draft!

"Although prostitution appears to respond to a widespread demand and despite indications that a substantial proportion of prostitutes are victims of social and psychic conditions beyond their control, most students of the problem favour penal repression of commercialized sex. Religious and moral ideas undoubtedly are the main forces behind the demand for repression, but utilitarian arguments are also available. Prostitution is an important source of venereal disease, although some contend that the "amateurs" to whom men turn in lieu of prostitutes present a great danger in this respect.

It has been observed that prostitution is a source of profit and power for criminal groups who commonly combine it with illicit trade in drugs and liquor, illegal gambling and even robbery and extortion. Prostitution is also a source of corrupt influence on government and law enforcement machinery. Its promoters are willing and able to pay for police protection; and unscrupulous officials and politicians find them an easy mark for extortion. Finally, some view prostitution as a significant factor in social disorganisation, encouraging sex delinquency and undermining marriage, the home, and individual character.

"Counter-arguments have been made by some students of the problem, who favour legislation of prostitution under public supervision. Regulation rather than total repression has been advocated on the following grounds:

(1) Prostitution cannot be eliminated by law.

(2) Statutory laws that cannot be generally enforced lend themselves to extortion and arbitrary and episodic prosecution.

(3) Failure to provide a professional outlet for male sexuality will result in more rape and other sexual crimes.

(4) Registration and periodic health inspection are the best means of controlling venereal disease; disease is much more likely to be spread by the promiscuous amateur than by professional prostitutes concerned and instructed to avoid infection.

(5) Legalised prostitution offers less opportunity for official corruption than an unrealistic effort at total repression.

(6) By confining prostitution to particular neighbourhood police surveillance is facilitated and the safety of the general community is promoted.....

"Many of the issues between those who favour repression and those who would tolerate some prostitution cannot be resolved on the basis of available evidence. However, on the question of medical risk, the record is persuasive that inspection of licensed prostitutes would give no assurance against venereal infection....

"Accordingly, the Institute's proposals on prostitution, embodied in section 207.12, pursue the same basic policy of repressing commercialised sexual activity, as does present American law...."

Later, however, a modified draft was adopted, as follows:

"Section 251.2, Prostitution and Related Offences.

(1) Prostitution-A person is guilty of prostitution, a petty misdemeanor, if he or she:

(a) is an inmate of a house of prostitution or otherwise engages in sexual activity as a business; or

(b) loiters in or within view of any public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity."

Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 Back

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