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Prostitution in Minnesota: Overview

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Throughout recorded history, prostitution — the buying and selling of sexual services and favors — has been a part of the human condition. Evidence of it is found in mythology, art, sculpture, drama, literature, music, and archaeological structures and ruins. Societies in different parts of the world and in different eras have dealt with it in diverse ways across a broad spectrum, with its acceptance as a norm at one extreme, to its criminalization at the other. Between the two extremes, it has been regarded, variously, as "a necessary evil," a blight on the community, the immoral dregs of a society. Primarily, women have been associated with prostitution, although in some cultures, boys and men have been used. In the past quarter century, Minnesota has seen a rise in the number of young girls and boys, often homeless children, many of them runaways or throwaways, forced into prostitution. The victims of sexual and physical abuse — rather than their abusers or patrons — have been penalized by social stigma, fines, or jail time.

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