Prostitution is an enduring institution in contemporary society. Yet the first 'contemporary' vision of prostitution law occurred in the nineteenth century in Paris. Documented by Alexandre Parent du Châtelet, the state of prostitution legislation in Paris was in some ways medieval, but in many ways very modern.

In the following pages, this exhibit will examine the various contemporary laws and ideologies seen today. It will study legalization, prohibition, and abolition through historical and present-day France as well as present-day United States, Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland. Finally, this exhibit examines the ideology of decriminalized prostitution through a social justice lens.