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Former Occupation of Registered Prostitutes in Berlin (1873)

Nearly half of the Berlin prostitutes under police supervision in 1872-73 had been home-workers or shop assistants before they turned to prostitution. Only 16% had been factory workers.

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Former Occupation of Registered Prostitutes in Berlin (1873)

Which occupation the prostitute practiced before getting into prostitution is certainly an interesting question; unfortunately, the information is so unspecific that classification remains very difficult. To start with, the authors have drawn up the following categories:

In percent

Farm hands and servants



Factory workers



Cottage industry and shops



Waitress-service in catering trade





Source: Hermann Schwabe, “Einblicke in das innere und äußere Leben der Berliner Prostituirten” [“Insights into the Personal and Public Lives of Prostitutes in Berlin”] Berliner Städtisches Jahrbuch für Volkswirtschaft und Statistik [Berlin City Almanac for Political Economy and Statistics] 1 (1874): pp. 60-74, here pp. 62-66.

Original German data reprinted in Gerhard A. Ritter and Jürgen Kocka, eds., Deutsche Sozialgeschichte 1870-1914. Dokumente und Skizzen [German Social History 1870-1914. Documents and Sketches], 3rd ed. Munich: Beck, 1982, p. 253.

Translation: Erwin Fink

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