Crime and Prostitutes

Prostitution is ambiguous to define. The Macquarie dictionary defines prostitution as 1. the act or practice of engaging in sexual intercourse 2. any base or unworthy use of talent, ability, etc. But the act of prostitution involves many other associated facets that are included under this extensive act. There’s the act itself, soliciting, advertising, pimping, house brothels, street prostitution, phone sex and even computer sex.

Sweden treats prostitution as legal, however pimping is illegal. Canada bans soliciting for prostitution, but not the act themselves. Except for a few places in Nevada, the United States bans prostitution but permits its advertisement and tolerates massage parlours or bars that house it. Germany has legal and inspected houses of prostitution, but uninspected prostitutes can still do business illegally, and those inspected can still buy and trade illegal drugs (Felson 1998 p 67). Do the difference in laws and regulations from country and states, prostitution as deviance can only be analysed through selecting a particular social environment. For this reason I will look at the prostitution as a deviance in Queensland, Australia.

The Australian Criminal Code Act 1899 defines prostitution as:
(1) A person engages in “prostitution” if the person engages, or offers to engage, in the provision to another person, under an arrangement of a commercial character, of any of the following activities-

a) sexual intercourse;

b) masturbation;

c) oral sex;

d) any activity, other than sexual intercourse, masturbation or oral sex, that involves the use of 1 person by another for his or her sexual satisfaction involving physical contact.
(2) However, a person does not engage in prostitution if-

a) the activity is an activity mentioned in subsection (1)d); and

b) the person is providing adult entertainment under an adult entertainment permit and is an adult and is not an intellectually impaired person; and

c) the activity is authorised under the permit.

The legal definition of prostitution has recently expanded in many Australian jurisdictions to encompass voyeuristic practices as well as non-monetary exchanges. Prostitution laws now make inclusions for massage parlours, phone sex and computer sex. Sullivan’s study into the politics of the sex industry in Australia since 1945, found that due to the shifts in sexual culture there have been discursive changes in society’s’ view of what constitutes as prostitution and what signifies as deviant sexual behaviour. Post war culture accentuated sexuality as the source of individual uniqueness, later progressing into the ideals of equality and mutuality between the sexes thus producing our sexual culture, as we know it today.

Defining prostitution as a deviance

Ancient civilisations did not condemn prostitution as sinful, but within the course of events over the past century, the view in most societies has changed to deem the act to the contrary (Thio p 214). To define prostitution as a deviance one must take into consideration the dynamics to which it applies. In correspondence with the Interactionist Perspective, Anleu observes how it is not the act of prostitution but how people identify it that makes it deviant.

According to Roach Anleu (p 70) prostitutes carry the general label of those who deviate from gender norms of monogamy, virginity, marriage and etiquette. In the eyes of society prostitution conjures up thoughts of licentious, unruly sexual antics, monogamy, incessant sexual offences and an element of notoriety. This opinion is confirmed by a research on prostitution by Karen Sharpe . She believes much of the concern over prostitution is due to it being regarded as a moral problem and a vice, which is either anti-social, or in some way vexing to others. The author theorises the problems associated with prostitution are: alcohol abuse, drug addiction, violence, sexual diseases and the adoption of anti-social values caused by the austerity of the industry and society’s opposing communal reaction. One could construe the general census is that these associated problems are atypical and nonconforming to societies’ norms and hence it is appropriate to characterise prostitution as deviant.

In addition, in determining whether prostitution is characterised as deviant, reference must be made to the laws that are applied to it.
social controls

To achieve the antithesis of deviance is to attain conformity through exploiting social control mechanisms. Generally the term social control applies to all the sanctions, responses or reactions oriented to the eradication or containment of deviant behaviour (Black 1976:2). Deviance is viewed to as to disturb