Artifacts from a 19th century American brothel

What Reformers Learned When They Visited 1830s Brothels

Middle class members of the New York Female Moral Reform Society visited brothels to save women from sin. What they actually encountered surprised them.
human trafficking cover

“White Slavery” and the Policing of Domestic Life

In the early 20th century, journalistic exposés, novels, and vice commission reports trumpeted fears about "white slavery" sweeping the country.
Poling Hotel and Saloon Laurelville OH Approx 1903

What Red Light Ladies Reveal About the American West

Prostitution and sex work are useful metric for historians seeking insight into the American West.
circa 1955: Women loiter in the doorways of nightclubs in Yoshiwara, the red light district of Tokyo, while prospective clients wander past or stop to look. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

The Battle to Keep Prostitution Legal in 1950s Japan

Revisiting the struggle to keep prostitution from being criminalized in 1950s Japan.