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Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Prostitution in Vienna in the Nineteenth Century rafficking in Women Prostitution in Vienna in the Nineteenth Century. In , the empress established what would become known as the Chastity Committee Keuschheitskommission, also Keuschheitsgericht and Zuchtgericht , an institution that was dedicated exclusively to issues of prostitution, extramarital sex, objectionable behaviour and homosexuality among the citizens of Vienna.
At that time, particularly tough measures were introduced that dealt with prostitutes in tandem with other undesired groups such as tramps, vagabonds and women living in common-law marriage. While her son, Emperor Joseph II, abolished the Chastity Committee along with a number of other historic public punishments for prostitutes such as public shaming, wearing of chains and the cutting of hair, the majority of the earlier laws forbidding prostitution remained in force and, until the middle of the nineteenth century, prostitution remained within the juristiction of criminal law.
In , the irst comprehensive regulatory legislation was introduced and, consequently, prostitution became the prerogative of the morality police Sittenpolizei. From that time onwards prostitutes were legally requested to register and undergo regular medical examinations.
Practically until , when the irst attempts to reform the regulatory system were introduced, the general tendency had been to maintain strict control over registered prostitutes operating in brothels and other tolerated establishments and ruthless elimination of the illicit sex trade via police action, detention and expulsion. It took another 10 years until the prohibition of brothels was inally passed in Wingield for her useful comments on the earlier draft of this article.
New areas for the sex trade developed in the late nineteenth century in more upper-class spaces and in the immediate proximity of the bourgeois residential districts. A military exercise ground used only occasionally, Schmelz became an area for criminal gangs and the prostitution networks that they ran. Owing to the proximity of the imperial court and traditional presence of the aristocracy, Vienna also had socially much more diverse prositution networks that were not limited to the poor and the underclass.