Sex Workers: A Culture War

Timeline created by ArianaMarie
  • 1,780 BCE

    Code of Hammurabi protects sex worker's rights

    Code of Hammurabi protects sex worker's rights
    Six of Hammurabi's two-hundred eighty-two codes specifically mentioned the rights of sex workers. "If a 'sister of a god' or a prostitute receives a gift from her father, and a deed in which it has been explicitly stated that she may dispose of it as she pleases ... then she may leave her property to whomsoever she pleases.
  • Colonial America regulates sex work

    Colonial America regulates sex work
    Although not illegal, sex work was considered vagrancy. Sex workers were often punished as sexual deviants under the laws of being a "nightwalker". To further limit the occurrence of sex work, the colonial assembly creates a law aginst "night walking".
  • Sex work flourishes in New York

    Sex work flourishes in New York
    An increase in sex workers was evident in New York, which was considered the epicenter for all travel as it was easily accessible by the seaport.
  • Missouri regulates sex work

    Missouri regulates sex work
    St. Louis, Missouri passed the Social Evil Ordinance which encouraged the Board of Health to require registration and medical examination of all known sex workers as well as the licensing of brothels. The Social Evil Ordinance was eventually nullified by the Missouri state legislature four years later.
  • US prohibits transportation of sex workers

    US prohibits transportation of sex workers
    Congress passed the Page Act of 1875 that prohibited the transportation of women into the US for purposes of sex work.
  • Committe of 15

    Committe of 15
    New York created a committee to examine how New York City should regulate sex work as well as gambling. The committee hired investigators that would visit sites where sex work and gambling would take place and file reports on each site.
  • Keller V. United States

    Keller V. United States
    The US Supreme Court decision ruled that deporting a resident alien who becomes a sex worker after entering the US is a violation of the tenth amendment as the Constitution does not give the federal government those powers.
  • Mann Act

    Mann Act
    Also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act, was a law passed by Congress in order to curb sex-trafficking and focused on keeping innocent girls from being lured into sex work and criminalized the transport of sex workers across state lines.
  • Hoke V. United States

    Hoke V. United States
    US Supreme Court rules determined Congress could not regulate sex work, it was the administrative decision of the states.
  • Bureau of Social Hygiene Forms

    Bureau of Social Hygiene Forms
    The Bureau of Social Hygiene was incorporated by John D. Rockefeller Jr., which funded research and aimed to influence public policy on issues related to sex, crime, and delinquecy. The bureau also sponsored research on aspects of sex work such as police systems, the need for women police and court reform and produced a series of psychological studies of delinquent women.
  • Mortensen V. United States

    Mortensen V. United States
    The US Supreme Court ruled that sex workers could travel state lines without violating the Mann Act if the sole purpose of traveling was to create innocent recreation without debauchery.
  • Nevada regulates brothels

    Nevada regulates brothels
    The state of Nevada allows licensed brothels to operate under state laws.
  • COYOTE political group forms

    COYOTE political group forms
    The first prostitute rights group, COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), forms in San Fransisco by Margo St. James, an American self-described sex worker, and sex-positive feminist.
  • The "World's Whore Congress"

    The "World's Whore Congress"
    The International Committee for Prostitutes' Rights held it's first Congress in Amsterdam and by the end demanded that the government protects sex worker's rights and act to protect their health. This was the first international meeting of sex worker's rights groups.
  • US Votes For and Against Legal Sex Work

    US Votes For and Against Legal Sex Work
    The city of Berkeley, California voted 63.51% against decriminalizing prostitution. The same day Churchill County, Nevada voted 62.78% keep brothels legal.
  • Male Sex Workers Approved to Work in Nevada Brothels

    Male Sex Workers Approved to Work in Nevada Brothels
    Bobbi Davis, the owner of the Shady Lady Ranch, made the first-ever request to the Nevada State Board of Health to add weekly urethral exams to the guidelines in addition to the cervical exams required for female sex workers.