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Word Count: 1,388
Prostitution from its earliest inceptions has carried a rather unflattering connotation A majority of the population attaches pejorative labels such as slut or whore to its practitioners and deem the institution in general as a taboo subject not mentioned in polite conversation Regardless of its negative stereotypes prostitution has become an omnipresent reality even in todays modern world This essay looks at prostitution in three European countries- Italy The Netherlands and England It will examine how most people viewed such an establishment the various methods of regulation if such means existed and the resulting consequences on seventeenth century society Most of Europe viewed prostitution in the seventeenth century as a degrading and disreputable means of making a living This was especially true in Italy particularly in the city of Florence which had been transformed by the Renaissance into the cultural and artistic center of the country As a result many prostitutes flocked to Florence due to the potential for lavish financial gains Most of these women of ill repute migrated from the northern countries of Germany The Netherlands and Belgium Only around fifteen percent of Florentine prostitutes came from Italian origins As John Brackett describes in his article The Florentine Onesta and the Control of Prostitution 1403-1680 several of the citizens of Florence regarded prostitution as immoral and viewed it with suspicion The prevailing thought was that women should not flaunt their libidinous intentions even in the most clandestine settings and certainly not advertise themselves in public However many also realized that lasciviousness was at the time a necessity which would be difficult to eradicate altogether Therefore the Italian government created the Onesta Office of Decency to regulate the practice of prostitution Instead the Onesta became a device of exploitation and completely ostacized prostitutes from tyhe rest of the community Under the Onestas jurisdiction all prostitutes were required to register themselves with the government The outskirts of the city were sectioned off as bordellos and
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