Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI

October 17, 2018


Women's Building Formal Lounge

In Policing Sexuality, Jessica Pliley, Associate Professor of the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities at Texas State University, shows how the fledgling FBI became a national power and built its prestige through the White Slave Traffic Act. Passed in 1910, the Mann Act, as it came to be known, was America's first anti-sex trafficking law. The struggling Bureau of Investigation used the legislation to gain entry not only into brothels but also into the private lives and bedrooms of American citizens. The act was meant to protect women and girls from being seduced or sold into sexual slavery but, as Pliley shows, it resulted in the growth of the Bureau's domestic surveillance programs and the marginalization of the very women it was charged to protect.


Jessica Pliley, Assoc Prof of the History of Women, Genders, & Sexualities at Texas State Univ

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