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Repeal the Mann Act

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On June 25, 1910 Congress passed the Mann Act (also known as the White Slave Traffic Act). Initially it was passed with the supposed aim of protecting innocent girls from being lured or trafficked into prostitution. The law made it illegal to “transport any woman or girl” across state lines for “any immoral purpose.” As such although it was created with the idea that no female would choose prostitution, it has been used to criminalize even relationships that are consensual.

Due to the colorful history of the Mann act being used to charge famous figures, such as Jack Johnson, Charlie Chaplin, or Chuck Berry it has fallen under suspicion and allegations of racism. Over time this has led to calls for repealing the Act. Instead of being repealed however, it has been amended several times to update the language and to expand coverage to include child pornography issues.


Conant, Michael. (1996). Federalism, the mann act, and the imperative to decriminalize prostitution. [Journal article]. Retrieved from editors. (2018, December 13). Congress passes mann act. Retrieved from

Weiner, Eric. (2008, March 11). The long, colorful history of the mann act. Retrieved from

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