This is an examination, from a feminist historian's standpoint, of the background to the present system of regulating prostitution in Britain - which is generally admitted to be not only unjust and discriminatory, but ineffective even in achieving its stated aims. Concentrating on the 1950s, and especially on the Wolfenden Report and the 1959 Street Offences Act, it is a thorough exposure of the sexual double standard and general misogynist assumptions underlying legislation relating to prostitution. In addition to the detailed analysis of the 1950s legislation and the background to it, there is an exposition of the subsequent workings of the Act, and of attempts to amend or repeal it.
Part 1: The Regulation of Prostitution 1. Society and Law 2. Technologies of Power 3. The Legislative Background Part 2: The Wolfenden Committee 4. Regulating Prostitution in the 1950s 5. The Origins of the Report 6. Preliminary Organisation 7. Listening to the Experts 8. Formulating an Offence 9. The Report 10. The Double Standard Part 3: The Law and Society 11. The Legislative Legacy 12. Moral Matters Part 4: Change and Continuity 13. The Consequences of Legal Reform 14. Legal Reform 15. Assessing the Effects of the Street Offences Act 1959 16. 'Any Person': Attempting to reform the Street Offences Act 1959 17. Resolving New Problems with More Legislation Conclusion Appendices: list of statutes; list of regulations, statutory instruments and Home Office circulars; list of bills; list of cases; Wolfenden Committee final recommendations