Selling sex was not a crime in Chicago or any other American city in the 1890s. Prostitution was quietly tolerated in the 1890s because it strangely complemented Victorian morality. It was seen as a necessary evil, "necessary" as a writer put it in 1892 "in ministering to the passions of men who otherwise would be tempted to seduce young ladies of their acquaintance." A man's powerful sexual drive, it was argued, could not be eradicated, and, if suppressed, was likely to manifest itself in dangerous ways. A segregated vice district "is really a protection" claimed one vice report "to the morality of the womanhood of the city, for without it rape would be common and clandestine immorality would increase." In this view, the prostitute was a "protector of the home" accommodating male sexual needs that no respectable woman could or would.

— 1890s argument in favor of prostituion  

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