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Letters from brothels

· The essay ·

To support her proposed legislation for the abolition of brothels, Senator Lina Merlin, together with Carla Barberis, decided to publish (Lettere dalle case chiuse, Milan-Rome, Edizioni Avanti, 1955), the letters she had received from prostitutes, almost all in favour of the abolition and of putting an end to a practice that enslaved them to that destiny, namely their being given police records which prevented them from returning to an honest life. The letters bear witness to painful situations, women overwhelmed by wretchedness or by overpowering relatives, seeking only to exploit them. Nearly all the women are intensely tied to a son or a daughter they had to entrust to families to whom they were obliged to remit a large part of their salary, and could only dream of being able to lead an honest life and retrieve their child for life. “Save us all, “Onorevole”, [Italian title for senators, etc.] and let no more girls enter these houses as I entered one and may no more girls be exploited by anyone or threatened, even by the police” concludes one of the girls. What a shame, however, that even the closure of the brothels was not enough to put an end to exploitation. (@LuceScaraffia)

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