Love & Sex

The 10 Weirdest Prostitution Laws Around the World

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In Australia, you need to finish high school to become a prostitute.

If you've been to New York then you've undoubtedly come across the rainbow-colored free NYC condoms stashed in the corner of a bar. What you might not know is that if you're caught carrying a few of these bad boys on the wrong street corner, it could be used as evidence for an arrest for prostitution. It's a law that is as ludicrous as it is ineffective. Today, NBC New York reports that legislation is moving through this month to completely ban caught-with-condoms rules like this across the state. Which is good news, because "three condom" rules undermine all major public health initiatives for safer sex. New York isn't the only state to have bizarre laws to prevent prostitution on the books. Here are some of the most backward, arbitrary, and crazy laws throughout time.

1. In Sweden it is illegal to purchase the services of a sex worker, even though prostitution itself is legal. Which means, prostitutes aren't committing a crime, only johns are. Iceland and Norway also have similar laws on the books. 

2.  In Australia, you need a secondary education in order to become a documented sex worker. 

3. Up until last month, undercover police officers in Hawaii were allowed to sleep with prostitutes while on the job. Because nothing blows a cover quite like saying, "Sorry, Joe, I don't want to sleep with that pro because I'm a cop."

4. In Montana, prostitution is billed as a "crime against the family."

5. In Ancient Rome, adultery was illegal but prostitution was not. It was perfectly okay for married men to get it on with call girls (or call boys). For this reason, some women accused of adultery registered themselves as prostitutes to avoid conviction.

6. In the 18th century, it was said that French prostitutes could be spared conviction if they were to join the opera. 

7. A 26-year-old loophole in Rhode Island makes is so that prostitution isn't illegal in the Ocean State as long as it's indoors

8. Nevada is the only state that permits prostitution in the United States. However, only counties with populations under 700,000 are allowed to license brothels. Despite its reputation, Las Vegas' population is way too high to allow prostitution.

9. In some countries, prostitution is not only legal, it is heavily taxed. In Germany, a Romanian teenager auctioned off her virginity for about $12,000, which would have been a huge pay day had she not been taxed 50 percent of her earnings. It's not about morals, it's about money.

10. In the Netherlands, disabled citizens can received a stipend to pay for sex from prostitutes up to 12 times a year.


Bonus: There's a bit of college folklore still alive on some campuses that says any residence with a large number of female residents — like sororities — are considered brothels and therefore illegal. While there are anti-brothel laws in the books in some U.S. towns, ladies shacking up is only illegal if actual hooking is going on in the house. Most colleges probably just aren't fans of Greek life.

Image via Flickr, 2, 3.