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A brothel in general, is a place where people go to have sexual intercourse with one or more prostitutes. Brothels are usually indoors, they are legal, however, establishments such as massage parlors, strip clubs, and other similiar institutions, often do illegal activities that only a brothel is permitted.


Brothel is from a French word Bordel which means maison close or simply prostitution place. Other synonyms for brothels are whorehouse, cathouse, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, pleasure house, and more common phrases in everyday English.


Brothels as a notion has been brought up since late as 4000 BC in ancient Summerian records, and those were operated by the priests of Uruk. The so called kakum, which was the temple, was dedicated to the goddess Ishtar and it was accommodated by 3 grades of women. All of the groups had the same job of sexual pleasure, by pleasing the temple staff, visitors, and people on the street, separated in groups individually.


Europe had it’s trail of brothels since ancient Greece, and the brothels are as been thought to be the idea of the renowned Solon. These brothels were dedicated to male clients, where women of all age groups provided sexual services. In ancient Rome, since it was around 400 BC when they were tending to reach their peak, female slaves provided sexual services to soldiers, and that’s was the reason why brothels were close to infantry barracks.

In the most recent years, before and during the WWII, while the Germans were occupied France, 22 Paris brothels were collaborating with the German army, exclusively providing sexual services for them and to them. The Germans created camps that functioned as brothels where an estimated 34,140 enslaved women from Nazi-occupied Europe, were forced to work as prostitutes in brothels attached to concentration camps. Even after the war, there were still signs of brothels, in Japan, Poland, Korea, and many more countries, where most of the western European countries have banned brothels after the war.

Modern time

Despite the fact that the brothels have massively been banned, until today, there are still left, however, they just hold a different name, rather than a brothel. Brothels as sex businesses have various sizes and systems. Every brothel has its own business system:

  • The prostitutes operate as contract workers, that means that they have to split their incomes with the brothel. Since it isn’t a legally tolerated non-government job, they have no health insurance, and no withholding for taxes.
  • The prostitutes can also be workers who receive a fixed, symbolic salary plus the portion of the money from the customer, which balance is being determined by the brothel
  • The prostitutes can work in the brothel independently of the owner, instead of salary cuts, the prostitute has to pay the usage of their facilities, however all earnings belong 100% to the individual that’s providing sexual activities.

The sexual activity that a prostitute provides can be engaged by the will of the prostitute herself, by enabling the client to choose the activity, however the prostitute has it’s liberty of deciding it. Forced prostitution still exist, but only in a few, non regulated and small brothel businesses.

Prostitution and the operation of brothels is legal in some places, but in other places it is illegal.In places where brothels are illegal, establishments like massage parlors, strip clubs, night clubs, and other provide sexual services. Even in places where brothels and prostitution is legal, it is subject to many restrictions. For example, forced prostitution is usually not permitted nor is prostitution by or with Minors.

Countries like Germany, Switzerland, Austria and other German-related countries are very common to have legal brothels in the urban streets. The sexual services are exclusive, aren’t prohibited, are controlled and taken care of by the owners. All of the brothels function normally like any necessary establishment.

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