This article aims to investigate the ways in which Italian prostitution changed following the abolition of the regulatory regime, enacted by the 1958 Merlin Law. It focuses on the princi-ples that inspired the law and on the anxiety that it generated among state institutions, espe-cially those which saw the abolition of the ‘closed houses’ (case chiuse) as a threat to sexual morality and the established order. The abolition of state-regulated prostitution was met with neo-regulationist institutional fury, including renewed repressive measures attempting to pre-vent the rise of new forms of prostitution that were not under state surveillance. By examining the reactions of the organs of public security and the political apparatus, this article will un-cover the underlying reasons for the persistence of the old regulatory model, which struggled to adapt to new forms of contemporary prostitution and to the explosion of new expressions of sexuality.
Azara, L. (2022). The new face of Italian prostitution in the aftermath of the Merlin Law: forms, debate and repression. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY, 29(2), 268-289 [10.1080/13507486.2021.2018405].