Added: August 16, 2014 – Last updated: February 21, 2015


Speakers: Brian Donovan and Tori Barnes-Brus

Title: Narrative and Sexual Consent

Subtitle: Compulsory Prostitution in Progressive era New York City

Conference: 102nd Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association: Is Another World Possible? (August 11-14, 2007)

Place: New York City, New York, United States

Date: August 11, 2007

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | U.S. History | Types: Forced Prostitution


Link: All Academic Research (Free Access)



Brian L. Donovan, Department of Sociology , University of Kansas

Tori Barnes-Brus, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Cornell College

Abstract: »This paper analyzes testimony about forced prostitution voiced in New York City’s Court of General Sessions from 1908 to 1915. During these years, the problem of coercive prostitution – commonly called “white slavery” – received an unprecedented amount of attention from journalists, politicians, and anti-vice activists. Drawing from verbatim trial transcripts of 31 compulsory prostitution trials, our research explores the cultural and legal fabric used to represent and evaluate sexual consent. We argue that legal facts are created through a quadripartite storytelling process where judges and jurors play a constitutive role in how the defense and prosecution create their trial narratives. Through an analysis of story framing in compulsory prostitution cases, we contend that the white slavery narrative served as a cultural resource for legal actors to understand and articulate arguments about commercial sex.« (Source: All Academic Research)

Wikipedia: Forced prostitution, Sexual slavery