Prostitution is the act of selling one's body for sex in exchange for money or goods. In the early days of the Republic it was common on almost every planet and remains so, though illegal, on the worlds that have since banned it.
In the early days of colonization, almost every planet saw the establishment of brothels in the cities and towns springing up across the Colonial Star Cluster. Though illegal by United Nations convention on Earth, there was no effective enforcement on the colonial worlds and, thus, they operated openly.
Even on worlds dominated by religious majorities, such a Columbus or Al Gharbiyah, brothels were in operation, though most often on the outskirts of the towns and cities or present but not actively advertising what was available.
On planets such as Galileo, Darwin, Troy, and the worlds of the Fenghuang System, brothels were as present, available, and as common as bakeries or butcher shops. They typically operated in entertainment districts around other such businesses. However, high class establishments like the famed Liz's Dinner & Cabaret operated in a dining district and featured a full bar and restaurant as well.
The conditions for men and women who worked as prostitutes experienced conditions that could range from depraved and abusive to classy and respectful, the difference being the type of establishment one worked in.
For instance, the Oyster House in Crescent City was a bar notorious as one of the worst places in which to work as a prostitute. The management was abusive, frequently addicting the prostitutes who worked there to drugs and with allegations that it would murder those that caused displeasure. So bad were the conditions that it was rumored a former prostitute there burned down the bar in 2155.
A small step up was the infamous Welshman & The Wop establishment in Galileo City. The management was not abusive and the prostitutes who worked there were free to come and go but the customers they were expected to service were frequently violent and rarely punished for their actions.
On the other side of the equation were high class restaurants and brothels like Liz's Dinner & Cabaret, where the founder, Liz Carter not only maintained a safe working environment that paid well but also funded the further education of those who worked for her.
Naturally, there was also some degree of prostitution by those who worked individually on the streets and corners as well as those who operated out of their own homes, with results varying widely.
New Age of Morality Act
Following the passage of the New Age of Morality Act in 2210, prostitution as most vices became illegal within the Unified Republic of Stars. On the worlds that had already banned the trade, it made little difference. On Athena, for instance, high class prostitution remained just as much in business as before, with prostitutes working with a pre-screened customer base in an on-call fashion.
In fact, Athena was a prime example of what most worlds did that either banned prostitution before or had it enforced upon them by the New Age of Morality Act. Those who worked the streets were routinely arrested by police and sentenced according to the anti-prostitution statutes. However, those that operated either in unadvertised brothels or independently on an on-call basis, even if known to police, were left unmolested. It is a legal gray area that continues to exist on most of the Republican worlds that banned prostitution.
On worlds where it was never banned until the Morality Act, planets such as Galileo, Shaanxi, and Darwin, the Act only served to push the trade underground. Cities, such as New Chicago, never even bothered to go that far and prostitution remained as legal as it ever was unless enforced by agents of the federal government. Local and planetary police forces, where they exist, never even bothered to enforce the new laws and the practice continued as usual.
The most complicated situation was in Galileo City, the capital itself. Being on a planet considered libertarian by any measure but also the capital of the Unified Republic of Stars, it was in a strange bind. The local police continued to have no issues with prostitution, either on the street or in brothels. The federal enforcement agents of the Investigative Office of the Republic, on the other hand, saw it as their job to stop such brazen defiance of the law in the Republican capital. Therefore, while most open prostitution ceased, even the highest class brothels that continued the trade did so underground.
Liz's Dinner & Cabaret, long a spot inhabited by both the planetary and local politicians, did continue to offer prostitution as a service but disguised it under the rubric of "renting a room for the night", regardless of whether the room was occupied all night or not. However, any politician known to have voted for or in support of the New Age of Morality Act was also banned by management from the premises. And any agents of the IOR were forbidden entrance without a warrant. The politically connected establishment, however, always knew when a warrant was to be served and never was it prosecuted for any prostitution violation during the years when the Act was still in law.
Current Practice Within the Republic
The following is a list of all the planets within the Unified Republic of Stars and the practice of prostitution on it. Red means it is entirely illegal and any known instance of it is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Yellow indicates that it operates in a legal gray area, where the open practice is prosecuted and the demure or unadvertised practice is left to continue. Green is where it is openly legal by planetary law, though localities may have banned it if allowed under the planetary constitution.
The legalities noted are for the years after the New Age of Morality Act. Years between independence and the Act are mixed and individual planet articles should be consulted if not noted here. For the years before 2169, no official government bodies or laws existed banning prostitution though on Al Gharbiyah, the "Common Laws" in practice still banned the act and punishments were harsh.
|Al Gharbiyah||ILLEGAL||This planet will actively prosecute any and all instances of prostitution discovered. Sentencing for violations of the law are especially harsh on Al Gharbiyah and can result in eventual execution for prostitutes after enough recorded arrests and convictions.|
|Athena||SEMI-LEGAL||All forms of prostitution were banned following independence in the year 2178. Street solicitation remains the prosecuted but individual prostitution or demure and unadvertised brothels continue to operate despite occasional crackdowns brought on by political pressure.|
|Columbus||ILLEGAL||Banned immediately following independence in 2173. Any discovered instance of prostitution is prosecuted though the sentences are far less severe than on Al Gharbiyah.|
|Darwin||LEGAL||Prostitution is completely legal on the world though various cities ban the practice of the trade on the streets.|
|Fengxi||SEMI-LEGAL||While officially banned since the New Age of Morality Act and a planetary law passed in that time period, prostitution has never been an enforcement priority. Occasional crackdowns occur but prosecutions are rare and usually result in small fines.|
|Galileo||LEGAL||Prostitution is completely legal on the world.|
|Gangwon||SEMI-LEGAL||Prostitution was legal until a planetary law was passed during the years of the New Age of Morality Act. Enforcement is half-done, at best, and typically involves removing street trade from the corners. However, different cities allow different aspects to continue but, in almost all cases, high end brothels and on-call prostitution is looked the other way on.|
|Kaesong||LEGAL||Prostitution is completely legal on the world though different localities ban different aspects.|
|Kanagawa||SEMI-LEGAL||Street trade is illegal on the world as is on-call private prostitution. However, Kanagawa and Yamanashi both allow for regulated brothels, typically of the high class variety though also over many ranges if they can meet the health requirements.|
|Madaba||SEMI-LEGAL||Open street trade is heavily prosecuted but demure and unadvertised brothels that keep under the radar are allowed to operate. Additionally, prosecuted prostitutes face much less severe sanctions than on Al Gharbiyah.|
|New Normandy||LEGAL||The trade of prostitution is completely legal on New Normandy and the constitution forbids localities from passing any ordinances in regulation of it leaving regulation strictly in the hands of the planetary legislature.|
|Penglai||LEGAL||Prostitution is completely legal on the world.|
|Shaanxi||LEGAL||Prostitution is completely legal on the world.|
|Troy||ILLEGAL||Banned on the planet in 2169 as part of an initiative to "clean up" the new independent culture. However, while prostitution is illegal, Troy is also the pornography capital of the Republic.|
|Yamanashi||SEMI-LEGAL||Street trade is illegal on the world as is on-call private prostitution. However, Kanagawa and Yamanashi both allow for regulated brothels, typically of the high class variety though also over many ranges if they can meet the health requirements.|
|Yong Nam||ILLEGAL||Banned as soon as Yong Nam gained independence in 2170 because of the Worker's Party use of prostitutes to service the upper class. Punishments are harsh and swift, though no known punishment of death has ever been carried out. Regular sweeps of street corners are carried out and any brothels or independent on-call prostitutes are found, if possible, and also prosecuted. Unlike many worlds, excepting Al Gharbiyah and Columbus, Yong Nam has a strong taboo against sex work, perhaps the strongest.|