Legal, Medical and Psychiatric Considerations in the Control of Prostitution

In common with other nations of the world the United States today as in the past is faced with the problem of controlling prostitution, particularly in urban areas. At one time or another states and cities in the United States have experimented with the classic methods of controlling prostitution: reglementation, segregation and repression. Reglementation of individual houses or prostitutes has never been carried out on a statewide basis in any state in the United States, though one can find instances in certain large cities in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in which city ordinances or de facto police regulations provided for licensing of houses by the police and periodic medical examinations of their inmates. Some cities also segregated prostitution in red-light districts, permitting and regulating those houses within the approved districts and repressing those which sprang up elsewhere. But since the early decades of the present century the legislative policy expressed by Congress and in all the states has been one of absolute suppression of prostitution.