"Prostitution has been tolerated throughout out much of western history, but because of its 'unspeakable' stigmatized and clandestine nature, it has been largely unrecorded."

Almost every society throughout history has struggled with the issue of prostitution and, sadly, Victoria is not an exception. Victoria, despite its traditional depictions as a city both pure and worthy enough to be named for a queen, had a seedy underside that included a well-established red-light district.

Through the late 1800s, there was ongoing tension between the desire for Victorians to live in a city that lived up to its royal name and their struggle to cope with a problem typically treated as a "necessary evil". Historical exploration reveals this tension through discrepancies between the legislation, which the society hoped reflected its values, and the police records and reform efforts, which demonstrated the real role prostitution was playing in society.

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