Policing sexuality : the Mann Act and the making of the FBI / Jessica R. Pliley.
Cambridge, Massachusetts ; London, England : Harvard University Press, 2014.
293 pages ; 25 cm
Formatted Contents Note
Introduction: the Mann Act and federal sexual surveillance The American myth of white slavery A national white slavery squad Endangered daughters Creating a moral quarantine Defining immoral purposes Policing seduction and adultery Coerced sex and forced prostitution The FBI's assault on sex trafficking Conclusion: can the country's moral borders be policed?
America's first anti-sex trafficking law, the 1910 Mann Act, made it illegal to transport women over state lines for prostitution "or any other immoral purpose." It was meant to protect women and girls from being seduced or sold into sexual slavery. But, its enforcement resulted more often in the policing of women's sexual behavior. By citing its mandate to halt illicit sexuality, the fledgling Bureau of Investigation gained entry not only into brothels but also into private bedrooms and justified its own expansion. The author links the crusade against sex trafficking to the rapid growth of the Bureau from a few dozen agents into a formidable law enforcement organization. In pursuit of offenders, the Bureau often intervened in domestic squabbles on behalf of men intent on monitoring their wives and daughters and imprisoned working prostitutes, while their male clients were seldom prosecuted. In upholding the Mann Act, the FBI reinforced sexually conservative views of the chaste woman and the respectable husband and father. It built its national power and prestige by expanding its legal authority to police Americans' sexuality and by marginalizing the very women it was charged to protect.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Available in Other Form
Online version: Pliley, Jessica R., 1977- Policing sexuality. Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2014