For almost 70 years the City of Stockholm controlled the health of public women, through a division of the police force that worked solely with this and, during the short period of time that they existed, with the supervision of the municipal brothels. This supervision was introduced in 1859, but there had been attempts to start a similar way of controlling the prostitutes as early as in the 1830s.
In establishing a gendered system that made women the sole source of venereal diseases, Stockholm and other Swedish cities followed a contemporary European pattern. When the system was abolished in 1918 it had for a long time been subject to severe criticism.
This study discusses, from a feminist perspective, the arguments used by the authorities and other influential groups in society when the system was established. The study also discusses the consequences that these regulations had on the women concerned, and the effects on attitudes and opinions on prostitutionin society.