Jessica R. Pliley is an assistant professor of women’s and gender history at Texas State University in San Marcos and she holds a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. Her book, Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI, will be published by Harvard University Press in the fall of 2014. It joins a body of work that asserts that sex trafficking has long been an issue for activists of various traditions, yet it encourages us to consider not only how reformers have organized to eradicate sex trafficking, but also how the policies they championed were ultimately implements. For example, the young FBI’s enforcement of the White Slave Traffic Act (the Mann Act) led to the growth of the FBI into a national law enforcement agency that policed sexuality in ways that upheld traditional ideals of the patriarchal family.
Additionally, she has authored an article exploring the feminist politics within the League of Nations Committee on the Trafficking of Women and Children in the Journal of Women’s History and has another article that examines how concerns about white slavery served to bolster some women’s rights advocates’ claims that women be included in the federal immigration service at the turn of the century published in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.