So, What’s This White Slavery Thing?

In this episode, Seth and JJ break down white slavery–the history, the reasoning, and the myths that continue to be present in the field of modern human trafficking. Listen in for a lot of nuances about eotic service provision, JJ yelling about exploitation films (and penny dreadfuls) from the 1920s, and a deep dive into US laws. Where does the “myth” of white slavery come from, and how has it persisted? Bonus points: we take on “Taken” once again.


  • Doezema, Jo. “Loose women or lost women? The re-emergence of the myth of white slavery in contemporary discourses of trafficking in women.” Gender issues 18, no. 1 (1999): 23-50.
  • Donovan, Brian. White slave crusades: race, gender, and anti-vice activism, 1887-1917. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
  • Keire, Mara L. “The vice trust: A reinterpretation of the White slavery scare in the United States, 1907-1917.” Journal of Social History 35, no. 1 (2001): 5-41.
  • Grittner, Frederick K. White slavery: myth, ideology, and American law. Vol. 11. Dissertations-G, 1990.
  • The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913) A Silent Film Review, Movies Silently
  • The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon I: the Report of our Secret Commission, W.T. Stead Resource Site
  • Poster for the 1913 film Traffic in Souls., Wikipedia
  • Sharma, Nandita. “Anti-trafficking rhetoric and the making of a global apartheid.” NWSA Journal (2005): 88-111.
  • Soderlund, Gretchen. Sex Trafficking Scandal and the Transformation of Journalism, 1885-1917, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  • Weitzer, Ronald. “The movement to criminalize sex work in the United States.” Journal of Law and Society 37, no. 1 (2010): 61-84.