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2017 Boyd-Lubker Visiting Scholar to discuss sex trafficking, policing sexuality

Dr. Jessica Pliley, Associate Professor of History at Texas State University-San Marcos, will present Sex Trafficking and the FBI: Policing Sexuality and the Growth of the American State as part of the 2017 Boyd-Lubker Visiting Scholars Program at WKU.

3-28lectureThe presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. March 28 in the Gary A. Ransdell Hall Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public. The lecture will also be available via Adobe Connect at connect.wku.edu/boyd_lubker.

Dr. Pliley’s presentation will focus on her book, Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI. In this book, Dr. Pliley tells the story of the gendered growth of the FBI by analyzing the enforcement of the 1910 White Slave Traffic Act, the United States’ first anti-sex trafficking law, from its passage until World War II. Though the law was passed to “protect” women and girls from being victims of sex trafficking, when its enforcement was left to the FBI, the law was ultimately used to police women and girls’ sexual behavior. The book historicizes anti-sex trafficking policy in the United States, while at the same time, raising problems with these policies because they tend to imagine young women in purely domestic roles, roles women were challenging during the early 20th century.

During her visit to WKU, Dr. Pliley will present Internationalist Women, the League of Nations, and the Problem of Sex Trafficking as part of the Gender & Women’s Studies Program’s genderations lecture series. That lecture will begin at 11:30 a.m. March 28 at the Faculty House.

About the Boyd-Lubker Visiting Scholar: Dr. Jessica Pliley is widely recognized as a leading scholar of sex trafficking in the early 20th century. She is the author of Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI (Harvard University Press) and co-editor of Global Anti-Vice Activism: Fighting Drinks, Drugs, and ‘Immorality,’ 1870-1940 (Cambridge University Press). Dr. Pliley is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar on U.S. and international anti-sex trafficking social movements and law enforcement, 1890s-1940s, and was the inaugural Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking Fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University (2012-2013).

About the Boyd-Lubker program: In 2000, the Boyd-Lubker Visiting Scholars Program was created through a gift by Drs. Bobbie and Lynn Lubker in memory of her parents, Dr. and Mrs. George Boyd. The program provides resources for bringing to campus each spring a scholar who will both give a general audience presentation and also meet with various campus groups and the community.

Contact: Dr. Audra Jennings, (270) 745-2921


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