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Author: Vera Zlatareva


Since this is an important book for bulgarian philosophical literature and together with this a sort of compendium in criminal law i.e., Dr. Vera Zlatareva was the first woman practicing lawyer in Bulgaria from the 1930s further, we shall try to give some explanations in two main directions.

Part One, the book represent an excellent general overview of the social vice viz., prostitution as such and in terms of a health problem (mainly, venereal diseases, consumption, and others). The wealth of literature sources provide a large historical part dating from pre-classical times to modern habitual practices. Most important is the legislative section of the book, where the author working at that time in the State Police Department /1931-1936/ has widely used the archive compiled for the past 50 years, notwithstanding. Finally, it's worth mentioning something else in international perspective and the fact that Dr. Zlatareva promulgated several Amendment Acts that were at the time neglected by the government but after World War II found place in the landmark Wolfenden Report /1957/. The latter has been published as "Report of the Committee on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution. London: H.M.S.O., 1957". and states among other things the following:

"Prostitution is a social fact deplorable in the eyes of moralists, sociologists and the great majority of ordinary people. But it has persisted in many civilizations thoroughwort many centuries and the failure of attempts to stamp it out by repressive legislation shows that it cannot be eradicated through the agency of the criminal law".

Part Two, besides it's moralizing and legislative value the book represents an important document for the field of empirical sociology in Bulgaria. Ergo, besides the fact that scholars from the socialist period of the country after 1945 had postulated that there was no school of applied sociological research in the period before-after the World Wars viz., contrary to these ascertainments we have found several well designed studies with semi-structured questionnaires in the literature from that historical period. We have already cited some of them in our booklist; 1) K. Pashev. Social Ophthalmology. Sofia, 1943. This is based on census survey and investigate the distribution of blindness in Bulgaria; 2) P. Nikoevski. Chronic Alcoholism . Sofia, 1948. This is based on case-series for "Alcoholismus chronicus" during the period 1929-1934; 3) V. Partuchev. Our Centennials ~ Statistical-biological study. Sofia, 1933. This is study on adulthood and senility, no data are available for the moment.

Given the above agenda, the inquiry from Vera Zlatareva is unequivocally well balanced in terms of study population and sample representation. It has included a total of 3560 prostitutes from major cities in the country Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Russe, etc. The data is stratified by several empirical prognostic factors and is presented in table format for birthplace, nationality, age, education, employment, family status (married/unmarried + next-of-kin + dependants), history of venereal diseases, etc. Analysis is made by crude numbers and percentages. A psycho-social profile of a separate group of patients is included in the study.

So far, the appreciation of this study has not been mentioned in the literature of social research in Bulgaria. A more detailed historical analyses with citations is necessary in future work on the subject.


Picture 1: Photo of a Moroccan prostitute working in Bulgaria in the 1930s.

(i). Prostitution has been difficult to define since time immemorial. It is assumed to be a lend-lease body intercourse with money as merely a token. It includes also the role of a third party, defined as a broth, who is the real commissioner in the whole business. In popular parlance, the fact that there is often no cash transaction does not necessarily mean the work is done for nothing.



Copyright 2008 by the author.