Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Deportation as Rescue:White Slaves, Women Reformers, and the US Bureau of Immigration

In the spring of 1914, the US Bureau of Immigration sent Kate Waller Barrett, a well-known American medical doctor, social reformer, and suffragist, on a three-month trip across Europe to study the sources of the "white slave traffic." Although Barrett stressed her interest in protecting the victims of white slavery, her report focused on the power of the US government to deport noncitizen women for their postentry sexual conduct. Barrett argued that sexually immoral immigrant women could be redeemed through the process of deportation if they were cared for by women immigration officers with the cooperation of women's voluntary organizations around the world. This article examines how Barrett and the Bureau worked together to reconfigure deportation as a protective rather than a punitive act. In doing so, they expanded the authority of white maternalist women's organizations to police poor migrant women and women of color domestically, and to pursue US government interests in the international arena.

In February 1910, newspapers reported the harrowing story of Warwara Karloszczak, an Austrian immigrant who had been in the United States for a year and awaited deportation under a "new 'white slave' law." In an attempt to escape from the detention facility where she was being held, Karloszczak "squeezed her way through a narrow window opening thirty feet above the ground, clambered down a waterspout, ran to Atlantic avenue, was captured by a policeman, dove off the wharf into the harbor, was pulled to safety on the end of a rope and removed, semi-conscious, to the hospital." Karloszczak's case shows the lengths to which some women went to avoid deportation, while illustrating the paradox of the white slave narrative. While the narrative was premised on the idea that prostitutes were powerless, virginal victims who had been tricked or forced to sell sex and thus needed to be rescued, it also painted foreign prostitutes and women of color as threats to the US nation-state. This tension was present, although unspoken, in the brief article that detailed Karloszczak's case: was she the victim of an unnamed man, a dangerous prostitute, or a casualty of the US deportation apparatus itself?1 [End Page 40]

Such conflicting conceptions of the women arrested and deported under white slave laws troubled both reform-minded, middle-class, white American women and the US Bureau of Immigration. In the spring of 1914, the bureau sent Kate Waller Barrett, a well-known American medical doctor, social reformer, and suffragist, on a three-month trip across Europe to study the sources of the white slave traffic that threatened American shores. Barrett was tasked with the seemingly contradictory mission of discerning how the US government could protect white slaves while also protecting the nation from them. Barrett's final report and policy recommendations resolved the contradiction by reframing deportation not as a punishment for the victims of the white slave traffic but instead as a means of rescuing and reforming them. She acknowledged that deporting trafficking victims could stoke public outrage, noting that "the picture of a deported woman is so pathetic that it immediately arouses the sympathy of the most callous." Yet Barrett argued that if deportation proceedings were carried out under the supervision of white middle-class women like herself, "the truest kindness to the individual is conserved by placing her in the hands of the Government." Working together, Barrett and the Immigration Bureau reconfigured deportation as a protective rather than a punitive act, thus expanding the authority of white maternalist women's organizations to police poor migrant women and women of color in the name of the federal government.2

The early twentieth-century crusade against white slavery gave both the US government and women's voluntary organizations new authority. Congress conferred upon the recently founded Bureau of Immigration the power to prevent sexually immoral immigrants from entering the country and to deport noncitizens accused of participating in the white slave traffic, as either supposed victims or perpetrators, at any time after their entry. At the same time, the bureau, tarnished by debates over immigration restrictions and accusations of mistreating immigrants, sought to gain endorsements from women's organizations to bolster its authority and improve its reputation. The issue of trafficking had galvanized national and transnational women's organizations, including the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the International Abolitionist Federation, and Barrett's own National Florence Crittenton Mission, in the late nineteenth century. Women's organizations founded rescue homes for prostitutes, sponsored undercover investigations of prostitution, successfully lobbied governments to pass legislation prohibiting state-regulated prostitution and raising the age of consent to sex, and promoted international agreements to stop trafficking. By the turn of the century, while continuing to work through their own voluntary organizations, American women also sought to harness the power of the state by shaping policy that affected women and children, demanding [End Page 41] that such state agencies as the Immigration Bureau employ them to oversee the treatment of women and children. This increased political visibility was particularly important at a time when many women, including Barrett, were fighting for the right to vote. The war against white slavery amplified women's organizations' broader reform efforts on such issues as suffrage and national prohibition.3

Like many women, Barrett came to antitrafficking work through her religious faith, her commitment to women's rights, and her efforts to rescue and reform poor and working-class women. As a devout Christian, wife of an Episcopal minister, and mother of six, Barrett cared for the abandoned women who came to the church for help, eventually earning a medical degree so that she could better serve them. Raised in an enslaving family on a Virginia plantation, Barrett moved with her husband and children to Washington, DC, in 1894, which gave her new proximity to national politics. The following year, she cofounded the National Florence Crittenton Mission, an organization devoted to rescuing prostitutes and helping unwed mothers. An advocate for women's political rights, Barrett was an early member of the all-white Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, served as president of the National Council of Women (NCW), and represented the United States at several meetings of the International Council of Women (ICW).4

In addition to her long career in reform organizations, Barrett also had federal government experience. Barrett previously had worked for the Dillingham Commission, which conducted a sweeping multiyear study of immigration that included a report on white slavery. As historian Katherine Benton-Cohen has shown, the commission employed about two hundred women—more women than men—and put women into positions of relative power, allowing them to lead investigations and author reports. While Barrett believed that immigration could benefit both immigrants and the United States, in her view only the right kinds of women should be allowed in, for as potential mothers, women had the power to shape the next generation of American citizens. Women like Barrett made new claims to political power and government employment through surveilling and reforming poor and working-class women, immigrant women, and women of color.5

Barrett's investigation of white slavery for the Immigration Bureau merged her commitment to rescuing and rehabilitating prostitutes with her aspirations for enlarging middle-class white women's opportunities in both the national and international political spheres. As a result of Barrett's recommendations, in 1915 the bureau amended Rule 22 of the Immigration Rules to "humanize" the treatment of "immoral women and girls" during the deportation process by allowing white, middle-class women to oversee it. Barrett argued that the bureau should hire women agents [End Page 42] to care for women throughout the deportation process and should partner with women's organizations in the United States and abroad. Barrett imagined a transnational community of middle-class white women who could claim political power through labor only they were qualified to do: rescuing prostitutes, while protecting their own nations from the scourge of immoral immigrant women.6

By forging partnerships between women's organizations and the federal government, Barrett and women like her articulated a maternalist and statist feminism premised on the power of the state to police immigrant women's sexuality. As Barrett endeavored to protect noncitizen women by ameliorating the hardships they faced as a result of their deportation, she also advocated for the fortification of the deportation apparatus that had inflicted those hardships in the first place. Through her work for the Immigration Bureau, Barrett incorporated the tradition of white middle-class women's rescue work into the state's deportation apparatus and framed deportation as a humanitarian act.

White Slavery and US Immigration Policy

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the fight against the white slave traffic spanned Europe and the Americas. Although it reflected states' growing interests in controlling their borders and regulating their populations' mobility, the fight's contours varied according to the national context. In the United States, white slavery crystallized fears over the sexuality of single, potentially child-bearing immigrant women, who were arriving in greater numbers than ever before, as well as the changing racial and ethnic demographics of cities, with their growing populations of southern and eastern European immigrants and African Americans. Barrett and other reformers used the term white slavery to connect their fight against migratory sexual labor to the successful abolition of chattel slavery. At the same time, the term purposely obscured the sexual violence African American women experienced during and after slavery and centered native-born white women—and immigrant women, who were potentially white—as the true victims.7

The definition of a white slave was ambiguous in both public and legal discourse. Immigration officials and reformers often used the terms white slave and prostitute interchangeably. At times they distinguished between white slaves as victims forced into prostitution, particularly across national borders, and prostitutes as unsympathetic women whose sexual labor involved an element of choice. At the same time, they pushed for laws that defined a white slave as any woman brought across state or national [End Page 43] lines to sell sex "with or without her consent," rendering women's volition immaterial. While white slave laws applied to women of color, including Asian, Mexican, and Black women, white officials and reformers often saw them as willing prostitutes and thus as undeserving of protection or rescue.8

The concept of white slavery offered new legal strategies for limiting immigrant women's mobility, combatting commercial sex, and solidifying the borders of the United States. From its inception, federal immigration law targeted women deemed sexually suspicious. The 1875 Page Act was designed to keep out Chinese and Japanese immigrants. It excluded prostitutes and those who "imported" them along with contract laborers and convicts. The 1903 Immigration Act was the first to include provisions for the deportation of prostitutes and procurers, making them deportable within three years of entry. Officials assumed that a woman who sold sex after her arrival must have done the same before entry, thus stamping a woman who sold sex even once a prostitute for life. The 1907 Immigration Act built on the 1903 act to exclude people suspected of a far broader range of sex-related offenses. It mandated the deportation of any woman who practiced prostitution "at any time" within three years of entering, although this section of the law would be struck down by the Supreme Court on technical grounds.9

In response, Congress in 1910 passed two new laws to fight white slavery. The Mann White-Slave Traffic Act criminalized taking a woman across state or international lines for prostitution or "any other immoral purpose," whether "with or without her consent." Barrett and many women's organizations immediately threw their support behind the Mann Act, offering to house women held for trial in charitable homes, which the Department of Justice soon authorized. The Mann Act was a domestically focused counterpart to the 1910 Immigration Act, passed only a few months earlier, which dramatically extended the government's ability to deport those deemed sexually immoral. It declared a noncitizen woman deportable for prostitution-related offenses no matter how long she had been in the country. It also mandated the deportation of any noncitizen who benefited from the earnings of prostitution, even indirectly. The 1907 and 1910 laws were the first of their kind to make noncitizens deportable for their postentry actions since the 1798 Alien Friends Act, which had allowed for the deportation of alien political dissidents.10

Women's limited access to US citizenship in the early twentieth century gave the deportation provisions of the 1910 Immigration Act even greater force. Until the 1920s and 1930s a woman's citizenship was derivative of her father's or husband's nationality. Single women immigrants who were racially eligible for citizenship and of "good moral character" could [End Page 44] file naturalization papers. But because of the cost and because citizenship conveyed limited benefits to women before the right to vote, the majority did not, making most immigrant women deportable if officials labeled them as prostitutes. Since Asian women were ineligible for naturalization in the first place, all were deportable if officials found they had practiced prostitution. But reformers and Immigration Bureau officials fretted that immigrant prostitutes could circumvent immigration restrictions by marrying American men to avoid deportation. Thus the 1917 Immigration Act denied citizenship to prostitutes married to US citizens, going so far as to infringe upon a white male citizen's prerogative to bestow his citizenship upon his spouse in order to deport immigrant prostitutes who were also wives.11

The bureau's focus on foreign women who sold sex belied the fact that in the early twentieth century the majority of those women were native born. Despite their relatively small numbers, immigration officials pursued noncitizen women who sold sex with vigor. They had broad discretion in deciding who might be a prostitute: women who owned too much clothing, admitted to an affair with a married man, or associated with "persons of questionable character" could be deported, and women of color faced particular scrutiny. Prostitutes constituted the second largest deportable category between 1902 and the First World War. The most deportations were of those deemed "likely to become a public charge." Under this classification, officials deported and excluded thousands of people, including many women suspected of prostitution because such a charge required less evidence. From 1913 to 1918 the Immigration Bureau deported about four hundred people per year for involvement in the sex industry.12

These laws had very real consequences for women, who often experienced deportation as a hardship. Even Barrett noted in a newspaper article that trafficking victims were "often afraid to tell of the guilty person lest the evidence lead to their own deportation." Some women turned to diplomatic channels to avoid deportation. French women accused of prostitution in the United States appealed to French consular officials to repatriate them rather than face deportation proceedings.13 Other women challenged their deportation orders in the courts. Helena Bugajewitz appealed her deportation after her arrest in 1910. The Immigration Bureau alleged that she had been a prostitute when she entered the United States in 1905 and that she had been practicing prostitution since her arrival. Bugajewitz's lawyers argued that if she was charged with the crime of prostitution, she had a right to trial. Her case reached the Supreme Court in 1913. The court upheld her deportation, arguing that a woman could be deported as a prostitute although she had not been convicted of prostitution and that deportation was not a punishment: it was simply "a refusal by the Government to harbor [End Page 45] persons whom it does not want."14 The legal fiction that deportation was not punishment, and therefore not subjected to the constitutional protections of due process, paved the way for both bureau officials and reformers like Barrett to argue that the process of deportation constituted the protection of vulnerable or victimized women.

Restrictive immigration laws generated controversy on multiple fronts. Immigrant and ethnic organizations, as well as members of the judicial branch, called attention to the poor treatment of detained immigrants, particularly women, and the lack of due process afforded to detained immigrants. As one judge charged, immigrants accused of sexual immorality were deported "upon the instigation of the inspector who acted as judge, jury, inquisitor, and police." In the spring of 1911, outcry from German American organizations and newspapers around the country led Congress to hold a hearing about conditions at Ellis Island, where one witness reported, "women who are brought there, sound in body and mind and virtuous, are kept there like cattle."15

Some US women reformers also spoke out against immigration restrictions that targeted women, arguing that deportation punished the female victims of white slavery. As the renowned settlement house founder Jane Addams noted, "Certainly the immigration laws might do better than to send a girl back to her parents, diseased and disgraced because America has failed to safeguard her virtue from the machinations of well-known but unrestrained criminals." Addams related the example of a Russian girl living in Chicago whose former lover became jealous and told federal authorities that she had been a prostitute in Russia. The girl was eventually saved from deportation "with the greatest difficulty." Addams lamented that if she had been sent back, she would have been forced to become a registered prostitute in Odessa. Such an outcome was particularly abhorrent because officials required registered prostitutes to submit to invasive genital examinations, a procedure reformers termed "surgical rape."16

At the same time Addams, like Barrett, argued that the solution to protecting immigrant women lay in extending the powers of the Bureau of Immigration. Women reformers' reliance on state-based solutions marked a shift in the way US women's organizations approached trafficking and prostitution. In the nineteenth century many women reformers in Europe and the United States rejected laws that treated prostitutes as a special class, whether through legalizing and regulating prostitution or through criminalizing the act of selling sex. They believed that such laws harmed women and infringed on their civil liberties, an approach scholars have termed feminist abolitionism. While the feminist abolitionist position continued to be popular in Britain and continental Europe, by the early twentieth century most [End Page 46] American women reformers saw the state as an ally and worked through its channels in their antitrafficking and antiprostitution campaigns. They viewed the abuse of women that occurred during deportation proceedings and women's attempts to avoid deportation as evidence that more middle-class women should be employed by the federal bureaucracy to properly care for immigrant women rather than as an indictment of immigration laws themselves.17

US immigration policy and its harsh deportation provisions also led to diplomatic tensions. European officials criticized the deportation of prostitutes from the United States regardless of the women's own wishes. The 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of the "White Slave Traffic," of which the United States was a signatory, included provisions for repatriation. Repatriation signified returning a migrant to her country of citizenship, while deportation, in the context of US immigration law, indicated removal to her last point of departure before entering the United States. The 1904 agreement stated that while repatriation was desirable, it should also be voluntary. Notably, the agreement called for charitable organizations to care for women until they departed for their home country. This provision built on the work of such women's organizations as Travelers Aid Societies, which emerged in the late nineteenth century in the United States and Europe to protect single migrant women from the sexual danger they faced during transit. While the language of the 1904 agreement was paternalistic, it acknowledged that some women chose to migrate and sell sex and did not sanction their removal.18

European policy makers criticized the United States' strict deportation laws for undermining women's right to mobility, while denying the victims of sex trafficking the protections they deserved under the international agreement. When investigator Marcus Braun traveled throughout Europe, French official Félicien Hennequin told him that "prostitutes have a perfect right to travel and to circulate freely from and into France" and stated that he would not help enforce US immigration laws. In fact, he accused the United States of violating the 1904 agreement by deporting women who had been lured to the country under false pretenses. "We must give such a woman protection," he argued, repatriating her only at her request. From Hennequin's perspective, deportation was punishment rather than protection. These tensions over the difference between voluntary repatriation and forced deportation would continue to shape international efforts to fight white slavery into the interwar years.19 [End Page 47]

Investigating Immigrants

Investigations were a cornerstone of Progressive Era reform, viewed by state officials and reformers alike as the best way to identify and solve pressing social problems. They were often conducted through public-private partnerships, which benefited both government agencies and the organizations and individuals who carried them out. In the face of national and international scrutiny of US deportation policy, Immigration Bureau officials looked to women's organizations for help. In the spring of 1914, Anthony Caminetti, the recently appointed immigration commissioner, wrote to Barrett expressing his desire to hire her as a special agent who would study white slavery in the United States and Europe. Barrett, Caminetti believed, could help the bureau to effect the "efficient and at the same time humane disposition of the cases of immoral women." Barrett's investigation would also provide an opportunity for Caminetti to improve his own image along with that of the Immigration Bureau. His son had recently been found guilty of violating the Mann Act by taking his teenage mistress from Sacramento to Reno. A national scandal erupted when state officials accused Caminetti of using his position to interfere in the case.20

Both Caminetti and Barrett understood that Barrett's position as a woman, mother, physician, and president of the NCW could allow her to carry out what was in fact a sensitive political and diplomatic mission on behalf of the US government, while appearing to be simply engaged in women's work for other women. In contrast to a man like Marcus Braun, Barrett could work through state channels without European governments perceiving her as intervening in state matters. When she was studying the politically sensitive issue of international trafficking—at once a humanitarian problem about the treatment of women and a political problem about the management of borders and populations—Barrett's gender was an asset. If humanitarianism was gendered as an appropriate feminine arena and statecraft was gendered as a male realm, as a woman Barrett could pursue US state interests under the guise of humanitarianism, while also advancing her own policy goals.21

Barrett started her investigation by meeting with US officials, including the secretary of labor, the commissioner general of immigration, the acting commissioner of Ellis Island, and members of the Immigration Service. She spoke with more than forty national philanthropic societies and consulted with prominent women around the country, including Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National Woman's Suffrage Association, and famed suffragist and peace advocate May Wright Sewall. She interviewed women held at Ellis Island for deportation. On her way to Europe, Barrett scrutinized the conditions of immigrant women on steamships bound for [End Page 48] the United States. Once there, armed with letters of introduction from the US secretary of state, she met with officials, police, diplomats, and representatives of philanthropic organizations in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, France, Great Britain, Holland, and Belgium to facilitate cooperation with the US government against traffickers. She also studied the condition of deported women once they returned to their native countries and investigated whether officials forced them to register as prostitutes.22

In addition to her official state visits, Caminetti asked Barrett to secure cooperation from national and international women's organizations to help the Immigration Bureau handle cases of trafficking. Both Caminetti and Barrett believed that such nonstate channels could be more effective than official ones in obtaining international cooperation. Working with women's organizations gave Barrett "unusual opportunities for finding out the true conditions" rather than just what government officials wanted her to see. As Caminetti noted, members of women's organizations had "individual personal interest" in cases of the white slave traffic. Cooperation with these organizations would be "much more effective" than working with foreign government agencies, "whose interest in the cases is often strictly official." While male officials often cited women's sensitive nature as a reason why they should not engage in politics, women argued that their womanly instincts uniquely equipped them to combat international white slavery. Barrett argued that women could explain US immigration law to foreign governments who were hostile to it, noting that "women have both the leisure and the social instinct to inform themselves upon these subjects, and most of the problems appeal more readily to women than to men." National women's organizations could communicate US law to their governments in a positive light, in ways that official channels could not.23

When Barrett reported the results of her investigation, published in the Immigration Bureau's Annual Report, she shrewdly played on the bureau's concerns about its domestic and international image. While Barrett did not accuse immigration officials of sexual misconduct, she noted that having male officials handle the deportation cases of sexually immoral immigrant women aroused the public's suspicion. This strategic argument also reflected real concerns about the sexual violence immigrant women faced when traveling, something Barrett likely learned through her work for the Dillingham Commission. The deported woman was such a "pathetic" figure, Barrett noted, that "a single case of unnecessary suffering is sufficient to call down criticism upon the Government" and could prevent public and legislative support for new immigration restrictions. American citizens, Barrett found, had even refused to cooperate with immigration officials in locating deportable women because of concerns about their treatment.24 [End Page 49]

Barrett described how deportations negatively shaped European perceptions of the US government. While she flatteringly declared that Europeans were aware of the "kindly and merciful interpretation and application of our immigration laws," she also recounted European officials' concerns about US immigration policy. For example, a British immigration official raised the troubling case of Russian women deported from the United States to their port of embarkation in Britain. The British government then deported them to Russia through a German border station. Because the women refused to enter Russia, where they would be punished for leaving the country without passports, the German government deported them back to Britain, where authorities incarcerated them. Moreover, European governments generally opposed the United States' restrictive immigration legislation, even as those governments worked to secure their own borders. In particular, eastern European governments were keen to promote their citizens as "white" Europeans who were the social and political equals of western European and North American workers. US immigration laws undercut these aspirations.25

The solutions Barrett proposed rested on placing women and women's organizations in positions of state authority. The Immigration Bureau could improve the public's perception of deportation and rehabilitate sexually immoral women if it appointed women officers at each immigration station to oversee women's cases. Placing one woman supervisor for every one hundred female immigrants on all steamships that landed in or departed from American ports and posting a woman inspector on every transcontinental train would prevent women from becoming "unfit for citizenship" during their journey. To implement this solution, the bureau would have to hire approximately thirty-six hundred women just to monitor steamships coming to the United States and hundreds more for departing ships, thus providing unprecedented government employment for women. Barrett argued that women held for deportation should be placed with a private women's organization if possible, preferably of their nationality and religion, rather than in jails. This suggestion gave state recognition to immigrant women's groups and Jewish and Catholic women's organizations, in addition to the white middle-class reform organizations to which Barrett belonged. Placed in the care of other women, a female immigrant could be held longer before deportation so that she could give evidence to convict "those contributory to her delinquency," leading to more deportations for pimping and trafficking.26

The US government should also solicit the cooperation of European women's organizations, Barrett advised, to care for deported women during their travels and after they returned to their native countries. They could also pressure their governments to adopt such stricter emigration restrictions [End Page 50] as raising the age at which a girl traveling alone could emigrate or be allowed admission into another country. (It is notable that Barrett did not connect Russia's strict emigration restrictions to the difficulties that deported Russian women faced, even commending a Russian law that forbade the emigration of women under age twenty without parental permission as the "care and protection" of women.) Moreover, women's organizations could spread information about US immigration law to deter immoral immigrants from attempting to enter the county. The press committee of the ICW had promised to see that "any data which the United States Government desires to bring to the attention of the public reaches the best class of periodicals." Barrett argued that, if implemented, her recommendations would eliminate criticism of the bureau, improve the government's ability to exclude and deport the sexually immoral classes, and rehabilitate immigrant prostitutes through the process of deportation, while also encouraging public-private cooperation to enhance women's access to state power internationally.27

Barrett's vision for official cooperation between women's organizations and the Immigration Bureau reflected the goals of both domestic and transnational women's organizations. It built on the provision of the 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of the "White Slave Traffic" for charitable organizations to care for women who chose to repatriate. It reiterated women's organizations' calls for the appointment of women as inspectors at train stations and ports to protect vulnerable women. It also reflected the increasingly close relationship of US women's organizations to law enforcement at both the municipal and federal levels early in the twentieth century, as police departments hired women, and the Department of Justice used Florence Crittenton Mission homes to house women witnesses in Mann Act trials. Barrett's report claimed that women's special abilities to rescue other women meant that they should play a crucial role in shaping and implementing US immigration policy domestically, as well as in international cooperation to carry it out abroad.28

To facilitate cooperation between the Immigration Bureau, European governments, and women's organizations, Barrett attended the 1914 meeting of the ICW in Rome as both a representative of the bureau and a member of the US National Council of Women. In 1907, the ICW reported that it represented 4 million to 5 million women, and by 1925 the number reached 36 million. At the 1914 meeting, delegates came from twenty countries, mostly in Europe. The middle-class European women of the ICW, both Barrett and US immigration officials believed, could be ambassadors for US immigration policy to their governments.29

In her speeches to the assembly, Barrett admitted that deportation could cause a woman to suffer, but she blamed the imperfect way US immigration laws were carried out rather than the laws themselves. She [End Page 51] emphasized the compassion of American officials, telling the women of the ICW that there was "nothing so distressing" to immigration officials "as to deport girls without anyone into whose hands they would be placed." Such statements implicitly blamed the travails deported women faced on the receiving countries, which did not have bureaucracy in place to handle immoral women returned to them. Yet as US immigration laws became "more stringent," according to Barrett, deported women became "more numerous." To prevent women from returning to the "streets" in their native country, Barrett proposed that each national council form a committee charged with communicating with the US government and protecting deported women. Barrett stressed the role that women's organizations could play in alleviating deported women's suffering without questioning the state's duty to deport women it deemed sexually immoral.30

Not all ICW women saw the US government as an ally in their efforts to protect vulnerable women migrants. Austrian Jewish feminist Bertha Pappenheim strongly opposed Barrett's proposal because it would harm Jewish women. In the early twentieth century, a widespread anti-Semitic narrative charged Jews with leading an organized international trafficking ring. In response, Jewish organizations fought to dispel these charges, rescue Jewish women whom they believed to be prostitutes, and safeguard Jewish migrant women. Pappenheim argued that US immigration law "involves an unusual harshness." Rather than protecting them, the US government wanted "to get rid of those girls and women—of whom hundreds of thousands come to them—who are useless," particularly Jewish women from Russia and Romania. These women would be rendered stateless if deported. Pappenheim begged the ICW "not to give moral support to laws that do not match the spirit of this assembly." "I understand that America has created such a law," she acknowledged, "but there are even higher laws than those that governments can make." Pappenheim's speech pointed to the structural problems that harmed women, including anti-Semitism, eastern European political instability, and the increasingly restrictive immigration and emigration policies that states were adopting.31 Other ICW women did not share Pappenheim's concerns. The ICW's sole concession was to insert a clause calling for "special attention" to the care of deported women whose home countries would not repatriate them. The final resolution passed by the ICW directed its members to cooperate with the US government in caring for deported women.32

The Immigration Bureau tasked Barrett with asking national women's organizations at the ICW meeting to pressure their respective governments to attend an international immigration conference, even providing them with a form to use for writing petitions to their governments. Yet the bureau's desire for collaboration extended only so far. When British delegate Chrystal [End Page 52] Macmillan asked if women members would be invited to the conference, Barrett acknowledged that "they would be very pleased to have women speakers, but officially it could only contain official representatives of the governments," all of whom would be men.33

Despite such setbacks, Barrett and the women's organizations of which she was a part hoped that her work for the Immigration Bureau might transform women's informal influence into more overt positions of authority and aid the NCW's quest for suffrage. As an NCW report noted, Barrett's position as a special representative of the Immigration Bureau gave the NCW "official recognition by the federal government" and placed it "in a most advantageous position" to speak with US officials as well as representatives of foreign governments. Indeed, at the 1915 International Congress of Women in San Francisco, several judges and Senator James D. Phelan, an ardent opponent of Asian immigration and proponent of women's suffrage, hosted a symposium titled "What Can Be Done to Aid the Federal Government." Cooperation between government officials and the NCW could be mutually beneficial, with white American women gaining access to the benefits of citizenship previously denied them—from roles as policymakers to new kinds of employment and, they hoped, suffrage—as they policed the moral and political borders of the United States.34

Rule 22: Policing as Protection

Barrett's report and policy suggestions proved persuasive to Immigration Bureau officials. In April 1915, Camenetti circulated an "Amendment of Rule 22 of Immigration Rules, Adding thereto Provisions for Special Procedure in Cases of Arrested Women and Girls," which made many of Barrett's recommendations into official bureau policy. "Rule 22," as the policy was abbreviated, called for an end to the practice of jailing women and girls charged with immorality. It decreed that female "special officers" should handle the cases of immoral aliens and that the bureau should cooperate with women's voluntary organizations—both US and foreign—who could care for deportees throughout their journey. Caminetti did not, however, adopt Barrett's proposal to employ women on steamships, likely because of the cost of employing so many women, jettisoning a long-held goal of women's organizations around the world.35 With Rule 22, Caminetti proclaimed, deportation would "not result in affording means for the further degradation of the alien, but rather in placing her in the way of opportunities for reformation." Barrett and other bureau officials addressed close to two hundred organizations to inform them of Rule 22 and invite their cooperation in carrying it out.36 [End Page 53]

Rule 22 led to changes in immigration detention practices, particularly the appointment of women to oversee women and girls detained for deportation. As a result of Rule 22, officials designated women as "special officer[s]" at the ports of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Galveston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago. In their annual reports, district immigration supervisors praised Rule 22 as modern and humane, noting that it was "in line with the present-day thought of tempering law with mercy and with aiding those who have fallen." The commissioner of the US-Mexico border district reported that "in California gratifying results have followed the activities of private organizations in extending aid to those unfortunate women indicating an honest desire to reform," emphasizing the sympathetic way that officials treated such redeemable women. The commissioner in Montreal noted in his report on "white slave matters" that while few women could be placed with private philanthropic organizations, the women detained in immigration buildings were there only a short time, while the jails used were "modern institutions in every respect" with "suitable female attendants." He proclaimed that his officers had been "instrumental in rescuing many young girls and returning them to their parents who otherwise might have been led into a life of shame."37

While the Immigration Bureau deported the vast majority of women deemed white slaves, it occasionally allowed women to remain in the United States under the care of philanthropic organizations. In 1917 the commissioner in San Francisco detailed the case of Bertha Husson, a young French immigrant whose husband had placed her in a brothel. Husson and her husband were arrested, and he was deported. "The commendable attitude of the department in its efforts to uplift and improve the conditions of these unfortunate women," the commissioner proclaimed, "is emphasized by the fact that, instead of deporting the woman, she was granted parole to a philanthropic association which secured suitable employment for her, and there is every reason to believe she will henceforth lead an honest, useful, and moral life." Husson's treatment was predicated on her ability to appear as a model white slave victim, an innocent white woman tricked into prostitution who wanted to reform and take up "useful" employment and thus be a good American.38 At the same time, Husson was subject to surveillance by the philanthropic organization that housed her as well as by the Immigration Bureau. As a noncitizen, she could be deported at any time if someone accused her of prostitution again.

Barrett further shaped popular perception of deportation through her prolific writings and lectures. In a series of articles about US immigration law, Barrett praised the 1907 Immigration Act for placing a "zone of safety" around immigrant women and the 1910 Immigration Act for improving [End Page 54] upon its predecessor by removing the time limit on deportation: "Now a girl may be deported if she has been born on foreign soil unless her father had taken out naturalization papers before she is eighteen years old, and anyone contributing to her delinquency can be severely punished." She emphasized that such laws made women "safe" and contributed to the "protection" of immigrant girls. Barrett recognized that "designing persons" could and did abuse the law by falsely accusing women of prostitution in order to have them deported. Yet she stressed that the federal government was the rightful protector of women. Immigration officials acted "for the best good of the country" and in the interest of the immigrant women, who were "worse off" if they remained in the United States under the sway of pimps and traffickers.39

Barrett's ideas about immigration and deportation reached a wide audience. After she returned from her European investigation, Barrett visited immigration stations across the East and the Midwest and met with "representative groups of men and women who have pledged their co-operation with the Government." While in California overseeing immigrant women for the bureau at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, she spoke on immigration to more than two hundred clubs and conferences and met with representatives from Japan and China. She took, by her estimate, between seven hundred and eight hundred US and foreign women interested in the "immigration problem" on tours of the facilities at Angel Island. As a result of Barrett's widespread lectures, other organizations, including the General Federation, the National Congress of Mothers, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, took up studies of the US immigration system.40

Rule 22 quickly generated positive publicity, receiving "favorable comment" by religious societies and women's organizations and coverage in national newspapers. The New York Times reported that because of Rule 22, "women who are deported will not be released to go their own way and possibly to sink deeper in immorality." Through government cooperation with women's philanthropic organizations in the United States and abroad, deported women could "find good homes and opportunities for making an honest living." The American Leader, a proimmigration newspaper that reached millions, celebrated Rule 22 and credited Barrett with bringing it about, noting that "the reforms which have been adopted place this country on a high plane with reference to the humanitarian measures employed in the treatment of unfortunate women."41 Such articles touted the Immigration Bureau as a benevolent organization and deportation as the best means to care for immoral immigrants.

Yet the changes Rule 22 brought were less sweeping than Barrett might have hoped. Some stations resisted hiring women employees to oversee [End Page 55] detained women. In his 1915 report, the supervising inspector of the US-Mexico border district noted that there were "no female employees within the district who might be designated to look after the welfare of arrested women and girls during detention," although the district was observing "the spirit of the regulation." The provision of Rule 22 calling for the cooperation of foreign women's organizations to care for women after their deportation also seems not to have been put into practice. The commissioner in Montreal reported that he had delivered no women to such organizations abroad. While he admitted that some of the "unfortunates" would have benefited from such attention, officials had not received any responses from the societies to which they had reached out. Moreover, immigration inspectors argued that the global political climate made cooperation with women's organizations abroad difficult. While the commissioner in Philadelphia lauded Rule 22, he noted that the war in Europe had "interfered materially" with his ability to follow it and had even prevented him from executing five warrants of deportation against prostitutes. The inspector of the US-Mexico border district argued that the revolution in Mexico had made it "impossible" to arrange for the "reception and care" of the 79 prostitutes and 13 women and girls "coming for an immoral purpose" whom he had deported to Mexico.42

Immigrant women themselves protested the provisions of Rule 22. Officials arrested English-born Isabel McCartney in October 1914 and charged her with entering the country for "an immoral purpose."43 McCartney had arrived in the United States a few months earlier in the company of Montagu R. W. Higginson, a married man. She was approximately five months pregnant. The couple registered at a hotel in Philadelphia as husband and wife, but when Higginson left for a week to find work without paying the bill, the hotel's housekeeper took McCartney to a hospital, which turned her over to the care of the Midnight Mission, a rescue home for prostitutes and unmarried pregnant women. The superintendent of the mission believed "the case was one for the Federal authorities" and contacted the Bureau of Immigration.44

After an immigration official arrested McCartney and Higginson, they were held at the Philadelphia Immigration Station and repeatedly questioned about whether McCartney was a prostitute, which they denied. Both Higginson and McCartney stated that they did not wish to be deported and that they planned to marry once Higginson could secure a divorce from his wife. The inspector who arrested them recommended deporting McCartney "before the birth of the child in order to avoid complications," since the child would be a US citizen. But when mission worker Charlotte Waln asked the commissioner of immigration at Philadelphia to stay McCartney's deportation and place her in the care of the mission until she gave birth, he [End Page 56] granted the request, in keeping with Caminetti's memo that called for the "kindly" treatment of immoral women deportees.45

To the surprise of immigration officials and Waln, McCartney refused to go with her. Even when Waln threatened McCartney that she would be immediately deported and have to give birth at sea in steerage, McCartney would not go. In a sworn statement McCartney wrote, "I would like very much if it is possible, to stay here until after my confinement, and then go back to England, but in the alternative of going back or the Midnight Mission, I would prefer to go back, as I cannot overcome my aversion to that place." The commissioner ordered her immediate deportation, but it was delayed for reasons not noted in her file. Officials deported McCartney and her one-month-old daughter to England in January 1915.46

McCartney's case illustrates the fraught relationships that could exist between middle-class reformers and immigrant women. While reformers argued that they could rehabilitate immoral immigrant women while they awaited deportation, they also provided the bureau with information that led to immigrant women's detention in the first place. The workers of the Midnight Mission were responsible for McCartney's arrest and separation from the father of her child, and threatened her in the event that she did not comply with their plans for her. Moreover, women in rescue homes often lived under stifling restrictions. Most homes forbade women from leaving the house alone and required them to perform domestic labor and attend regular prayer services.47

While Rule 22 was based on the rhetoric of the redeemable white slave victim, this rhetoric elided the fact that a large number of women held for deportation were Mexican and Asian, which shaped how officials treated them during deportation proceedings. Mexican women were the largest single nationality deported or debarred from entry for prostitution in the majority of years between 1910 and 1920. While naturalization law considered Mexican women as white, bureau officials and state and municipal laws often did not offer them the privileges of whiteness. Annual reports from the supervising inspector at the US-Mexico border portrayed Mexican women accused of prostitution as dangerous and greedy, "impelled by cupidity" to repeatedly return to the United States after deportation to continue selling sex. "The majority of them," he noted, "are afflicted with gonorrhea or syphilis, or both." As Grace Peña Delgado has demonstrated, the enforcement of anti–white slavery immigration law in the early twentieth century helped to construct the US southern border as a site of racialized, sexualized, and gendered exclusion.48

Immigration officials also did not often consider Asian women as victims worthy of assistance, although immigration reports listed their cases under the heading "White-Slave Matters." The inspector in charge [End Page 57] in Honolulu reported that they had no special facility to house immoral Japanese women, and there was no Japanese women's society to care for them. He did, however, make provisions for protecting the women from other detainees, as well as preventing the women from corrupting others, noting that such women were "kept in a separate room at night and, as far as possible, their association with others in detention is prevented or discouraged." In 1914, Japanese women represented 47 of the 238 deportations for practicing prostitution after entry, approximately 20 percent. As the historians Kazuhiro Oharazeki and Martha Gardner have shown, officials targeted Asian women in particular for deportation proceedings. After her entry into the United States to join her husband, Chan Ching was visited ten times in four months by an immigration inspector, who repeatedly noted what he saw as evidence of prostitution, including a male visitor and the appearance of her apartment.49 While anti–white slavery immigration laws increased the surveillance of all immigrant women in the name of protecting them, immigrant women of color faced increased state intervention into their lives without the purported benefits that policies like Rule 22 offered.

Immigration officials also saw Black women as less deserving of the protections of Rule 22. This was the case for J. P. Densmore, the chief law officer of the Department of Labor. During his investigation of the immigration station in Jacksonville, Florida, he found that officials "frequently" arrested "colored alien prostitutes," likely women migrants from the West Indies. Under Rule 22, the women could not be held for deportation in jails, yet it cost $2.50 a day to maintain them in private houses, far more than the 40¢ a day that jail cost. Densmore wrote to the Bureau of Immigration in Washington, DC, suggesting that "as these people are of extremely low character it occurred to me … that they might be better confined in jails"; however, officials decided it was "inadvisable" to issue Densmore's proposal.50

Immigration officials used their discretion and applied Rule 22 unevenly on the basis of their racialized and gendered conceptions of victimhood and criminality. While some officials did not see Black women as worthy of the opportunities for reform that private organizations could provide, others believed that Rule 22, at least as it was explicitly written in policy, should apply to all women. Yet the differences between how immigration officials enacted Rule 22 when detaining European women and how they enacted it when detaining Asian, Mexican, and Black women suggest that policy did not always translate into practice. Moreover, some immigration stations did not report on how they implemented Rule 22, suggesting that the Immigration Bureau's enforcement of the program was decentralized and limited.51 While Immigration Bureau officials welcomed the favorable publicity Rule 22 generated, many were less interested in implementing its provisions. [End Page 58]

Thus Rule 22 expanded and justified the surveillance, detention, and deportation of women in the name of stopping white slavery and offering women care. While historian Torrie Hester argues that the Immigration Bureau's antiprostitution efforts operated as a "kind of victim's rights program," they also were overtly and purposefully punitive. Indeed, officials often focused on Rule 22's efficacy in leading to deportations rather than on the treatment of women under it. In 1916, the immigration inspector in Jacksonville, Florida, deported eight prostitutes for entering the country for an immoral purpose, noting that "the amendment to rule 22 … has worked and is still working satisfactorily in this district. Under its operation no alien woman wanted for deportation has escaped." The commissioner in Boston reported that a matron had been assigned to communicate with local courts and probation officers and had "thereby effected the arrest and deportation to Canada and Newfoundland of a considerable number of women and girls of the immoral classes."52 Rule 22 allowed the Immigration Bureau to construct the detention of women as a humane means of fighting white slavery, even as many immigration officials on the ground saw it as a further mandate to deport sexually suspicious women. Through Rule 22, Barrett made compatible the two ostensibly conflicting goals of anti–white slavery immigration laws: to rescue victims while at the same time ridding the country of dangerous prostitutes.


Barrett hoped that Rule 22 could purify the state by incorporating maternalist policies into the deportation apparatus and purify the nation by removing sexually immoral immigrants. In the years following her investigation, Barrett continued her attempts to shape law and policy in ways that emphasized gains for native-born women, often at the expense of immigrants. Barrett next targeted laws that stripped an American woman of her citizenship if she married a foreign national. Testifying before Congress, Barrett asserted that an American woman should be able to retain her citizenship regardless of her marital status or her husband's nationality. Yet she assured the assembly that her interest in women's access to citizenship was limited to native-born women alone, while immigrants' access to citizenship should be given only to those deemed "worthy": "whatever laws you pass restricting naturalization will have the support of the united intelligent womanhood of this country."53

The involvement of women's organizations and Barrett, a well-known reformer, helped the Immigration Bureau to obscure the punitive nature of the deportation process and the suffering of woman migrants, reconstruing [End Page 59] exclusion and deportation as the humanitarian protection of vulnerable women. Barrett's work for the bureau concealed its political and economic interest in spreading restrictive immigration laws and gaining cooperation from other states to enforce them. While the First World War cut short the bureau's attempts at cooperation with European women's organizations, after the war Caminetti again asked Barrett to obtain the ICW's cooperation to receive women deportees, many of whom were "feeble-minded or insane," terms that carried connotations of sexual immorality. As Caminetti noted, "Publicity in this country of this subject is not desirable, and it is advisable for the obvious reasons also to have as little of it in Europe as possible." The bureau continued to seek transnational public-private partnerships with the ICW in the interwar period to deflect criticism about the inhumane treatment of women migrants.54

Barrett proclaimed her commitment to the well-being of "fallen" women and devoted her life's work to rescuing them. Yet she was also aware of the ways that cooperation with the US government could benefit women like her in their fight for suffrage and an enlarged role in public and political life. While Rule 22 was the first provision of its kind to attempt to "humanize" the Immigration Bureau's treatment of women held for deportation, it was also a means for white native-born women to access political power and government employment. Rule 22 codified US government cooperation with women's organizations around the world, giving them recognition as significant political actors, although still without the seat at the diplomatic table that many had hoped for. While Barrett believed she was advocating for all women's rights through her work for the Immigration Bureau, she did not recognize that her gains often came at the expense of the rights and desires of immigrant women.

Barrett's cooperation with the Immigration Bureau wedded the nineteenth-century tradition of women's rescue work to a state-based, carceral approach to migratory sexual labor. Such an approach shapes much of the contemporary antitrafficking movement, which advocates the detention and deportation of migrant sex workers as a means of protecting them and emphasizes a securitized state apparatus and the tightening of borders. Building on earlier movements, contemporary antitrafficking campaigns draw on evangelical Christian and secular liberal feminist discourses that equate prostitution with exploitation and insist that it is the duty of the state—and particularly the criminal justice system—to protect women, the family, and the nation. Such campaigns continue to distinguish between idealized white trafficking victims deserving of rescue and Black women and girls, whom they view as choosing prostitution and who make up a disproportionate number of prostitution arrests. Meanwhile, the US government [End Page 60] often deports noncitizen women accused of prostitution without offering them the protections US law claims to provide for trafficking victims. Moreover, contemporary antitrafficking activists and organizations gain political power and capital for themselves by "rescuing" supposed victims of trafficking.55 By reconciling the tension between rescuing versus punishing women, and protecting women versus protecting the nation, Barrett laid ideological foundations that continue to shape antitrafficking efforts.

Eva Payne

EVA PAYNE is assistant professor of US history at the University of Mississippi. Her first book project examines American involvement in international anti-trafficking and anti-prostitution movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She serves as the codirector of the Invisible Histories Project-Mississippi, which documents and preserves Mississippi's LGBTQ history.


The author is grateful to Yvette Butler, Elisa Camiscoli, Cristina Groeger, Philippa Hetherington, Julia Laite, Allison Lange, Margot Moinester, Jessica Pliley, Jarod Roll, Lydia Walker, Jessica Wilkerson, and the anonymous peer reviewers for their insightful comments on this manuscript.

1. "Resists Deportation," Washington (DC) Evening Star, February 18, 1910. I use the terms white slavery and prostitute when discussing the views of my historical actors. Elsewhere I use the terms sexual labor and commercial sex to reflect my own analytical voice.

2. US Department of Labor, Annual Report of the Commissioner General of Immigration, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1914 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1915), 365, 384 (hereafter Annual Report followed by the fiscal year).

3. For an overview of US deportation policy, see Torrie Hester, Deportation: The Origins of U.S. Policy (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017); Deirdre Moloney, National Insecurities: Immigrants and U.S. Deportation Policy since 1882 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012); and Daniel Kanstroom, Deportation Nation: Outsiders in American History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007). On women's anti-trafficking work, see Peggy Pascoe, Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874–1939 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990); Ian Tyrrell, Woman's World/Woman's Empire: The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in International Perspective, 1880–1930 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991); Stephanie Limoncelli, The Politics of Trafficking: The First International Movement to Combat the Sexual Exploitation of Women (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010); and Judith Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class, and the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980). On women's organizations and the state, see Molly Ladd-Taylor, Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare, and the State, 1890–1930 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994); and Jessica R. Pliley, "The Petticoat Inspectors: Women Boarding Inspectors and the Gendered Exercise of Federal Authority," Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 12, no. 1 (January 2013): 95–126.

4. Otto Wilson, Fifty Years' Work with Girls, 1883–1933 (Alexandria, VA: National Florence Crittenton Mission, 1933), 139–189; Katherine G. Aiken, Harnessing the Power of Motherhood: The National Florence Crittenton Mission, 1883–1925 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1998), 33–66; Elna C. Green, Southern Strategies: Southern Women and the Woman Suffrage Question (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 157.

5. Katherine Benton-Cohen, Inventing the Immigration Problem: The Dillingham Commission and Its Legacy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018), 157, 140–141, 167; Val Marie Johnson, "Protection, Virtue, and the 'Power to Detain': The Moral Citizenship of Jewish Women in New York City, 1890–1920," Journal of Urban History 31, no. 5 (July 2005): 655–684; "'The Alien Woman' Topic of Address: Mrs. Kate Waller Barrett Speaks Under Auspices of Middlesex Women's Club," n.d., Box 4, Kate Waller Barrett Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC (hereafter KWB).

6. Annual Report 1915, 271.

7. On race and white slavery in the international context, see Jean Allain, "White Slave Traffic in International Law," Journal of Trafficking and Human Exploitation 1, no. 1 (Feb. 2017): 1–40, 7–8. The literature on white slavery is vast. An incomplete list of works includes Brian Donovan, White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887–1917 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006); Elisa Camiscioli, Reproducing the French Race: Immigration, Intimacy, and Embodiment in the Early Twentieth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009); Donna J. Guy, Sex & Danger in Buenos Aires: Prostitution, Family, and Nation in Argentina (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991); Philippa Hetherington, "Victims of the Social Temperament: Prostitution, Migration and the Traffic in Women from Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, 1885–1935" (PhD diss., Harvard University, 2014); Julia Laite, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885–1960 (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012); Limoncelli, Politics of Trafficking; Gunther Peck, "Feminizing White Slavery in the United States: Marcus Braun and the Transnational Traffic in White Bodies, 1890–1910," in Workers Across the Americas: The Transnational Turn in Labor History, ed. Leon Fink (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 221–44; Jessica R. Pliley, Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014); Keely Stauter-Halsted, The Devil's Chain: Prostitution and Social Control in Partitioned Poland (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015); and Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian Society. On race and immigration in the United States see Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999). On African American women, see Cynthia M. Blair, I've Got to Make My Livin': Black Women's Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010).

8. Pamala Haag, Consent: Sexual Rights and the Transformation of American Liberalism (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999); Mann Act, 36 Stat. 825 (1910); Grace Peña Delgado, "Border Control and Sexual Policing: White Slavery and Prostitution along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1903–1910," Western Historical Quarterly 43, vol. 2 (Summer 2012): 157–178; Catherine Christensen, "Mujeres Públicas: American Prostitutes in Baja California, 1910–1930," Pacific Historical Review 82, no. 2 (May 2013): 215–247; Kazuhiro Oharazeki, Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887–1920 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016); Martha Gardner, The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870–1965 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005), 51–72; Blair, I've Got to Make My Livin', 187–222.

9. For an overview of US immigration policy and the policing of sexuality see Eithne Luibhéid, Entry Denied: Policing Sexuality at the Border (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002), 1–16; Act of March 3, 1903, sec. 2, 2, 32 Stat. 1213; Act of February 20, 1907, sec. 3, 34, Stat. 899; Keller v. United States, No. 653, Ullman v. United States, No. 654, Decided 5 April 1909.

10. White Slave Traffic Act, June 15, 1910, 36 Stat. 825; An Act to amend an Act entitled "An Act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States," March 26, 1910, 36 Stat. 263; Pliley, Policing Sexuality, 95; Aiken, Harnessing the Power of Motherhood, 167–168; Kanstroom, Deportation Nation, 126.

11. Marian L. Smith, "'Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married …': Women and Naturalization, ca. 1802–1940," Prologue 30, no. 2 (Summer 1998), 3–6; Oharazeki, Japanese Prostitutes, 184; Annual Report 1916, 222; Gardner, Qualities of a Citizen, 48.

12. United States Immigration Commission, Reports of the Immigration Commission, vol. 37 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1911), 62; Gardner, Qualities of a Citizen, 54, 82–84; Hester, Deportation, 83, 97.

13. Elisa Camiscioli, "Trafficking Histories: Women's Migration and Sexual Labor in the Early Twentieth Century," Deportate, esuli, profughe: Rivista telematica di studi sulla memoria femminile 40 (Summer 2019): 1–13.

14. Kate Waller Barrett, "Whose the Responsibility?" Washington Times, March 10, 1914; Bugajewitz v. Adams et al., 228 U.S. 585 (1913).

15. US Congress, House, Committee on Rules, Hearings on House Resolution No. 166, 62nd Cong., 1st sess., 1911, 41, 14.

16. Jane Addams, A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil (New York: Macmillan, 1912), 34–35; Laurie Bernstein, Sonia's Daughters: Prostitutes and their Regulation in Imperial Russia (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 56–62; Katharine Caroline Bushnell and Elizabeth Wheeler Andrew, The Queen's Daughters in India (London: Morgan & Scott, 1899), 16.

17. Jessica R. Pliley, "Claims to Protection: The Rise and Fall of Feminist Abolitionism in the League of Nations' Committee on the Traffic in Women and Children, 1919–1936," Journal of Women's History 22, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 90–113; Limoncelli, Politics of Trafficking, 42–70. On the continuation of feminist abolitionism in the United States, see Anya Jabour, "Prostitution Politics and Feminist Activism in Modern America: Sophonisba Breckinridge and the Morals Court in Prohibition-Era Chicago," Journal of Women's History 25, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 141–164. On American women reformers' cooperation with the state, as well as resistance to state aims, see Scott Stern, The Trials of Nina McCall: Sex, Surveillance, and the Decades-long Government Plan to Imprison "Promiscuous" Women (Boston: Beacon Press, 2018).

18. 1904 International Agreement for the Suppression of the "White Slave Traffic," Paris, May 18, 1904; Eric Carmin Cimino, "On the 'Border Line of Tragedy': White Slavery, Moral Protection and the Travelers Aid Society of New York, 1885–1917" (PhD diss., Stony Brook University, 2012).

19. Marcus Braun to Commissioner General of Immigration, June 23, 1909, 001742/003/0586, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Series A: Subject Correspondence Files, Part 5: Prostitution and White Slavery, 1902–1933, ProQuest History Vault, (hereafter INS); Peck, "Feminizing White Slavery"; Pliley, Policing Sexuality, 45–48; Limoncelli, Politics of Trafficking, 82–89.

20. Alice O'Connor, Poverty Knowledge: Social Science, Social Policy, and the Poor in Twentieth-Century U.S. History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001); Jennifer Fronc, New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); Anthony Caminetti to Kate Waller Barrett, 15 Apr. 1914, 001742/007/0416, INS; Robert Lee Anderson, The Diggs-Caminetti Case, 1913–1917: For Any Other Immoral Purpose, 2 vols. (New York: Edwin Mellen, 1990).

21. On women as diplomatic actors, see Glenda Sluga and Carolyn James, Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (London: Routledge, 2015). On the feminization of humanitarianism, see Francesca Piana, "Maternalism and Feminism in Medical Aid: The American Women's Hospitals in the United States and in Greece, 1917–1941" in Gendering Global Humanitarianism in the Twentieth Century: Practice, Politics and the Power of Representation, ed. Esther Möller, Johannes Paulmann, and Katharina Stornig (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020): 85–114.

22. Annual Report 1914, 366.

23. Annual Report 1914, 359; Caminetti to Barrett, 15 Apr. 1914, 001742/007/0416, INS; Annual Report 1914, 385.

24. Benton-Cohen, Inventing the Immigration Problem, 149–150; Annual Report 1914, 384.

25. Annual Report 1914, 364, 379. On Russian women, see Hetherington, "Victims of the Social Temperament"; and Tara Zahara, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (New York: Norton, 2016), 9.

26. Annual Report 1914, 384, 385, 381. To calculate this figure, I used data from Annual Report 1913, 7, 38–39. On women inspectors, see Pliley, "Petticoat Inspectors"; and Annual Report 1914, 385.

27. Annual Report 1914, 383–386, 376, 363.

28. On women police in the United States and Europe, see Chloe Owings, Women Police: A Study of the Development and Status of the Women Police Movement (New York: Frederick H. Hitchcock, 1925); and Aiken, Harnessing the Power of Motherhood, 167–168.

29. Leila Rupp, "Constructing Internationalism: The Case of Transnational Women's Organizations, 1888–1945," American Historical Review 99, no. 5 (Dec. 1994): 1571–1600, 1574; International Council of Women, Report on the Quinquennial Meetings, Rome 1914 (Karlsruhe, Germany: G. Braunsche Hofbuchdruckerei und Verlag, n.d.), 456–467; Annual Report 1914, 385.

30. ICW, Report on the Quinquennial Meetings, 159.

31. Marion A. Kaplan, The Jewish Feminist Movement in Germany: The Campaigns of the Jüdischer Frauenbund, 1904–1938 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979); Edward J. Bristow, Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight against White Slavery, 1870–1939 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982); Mir Yarfitz, Impure Migration: Jews and Sex Work in Golden Age Argentina (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2019); ICW, Report on the Quinquennial Meetings, 232–233, 33, German translation with the assistance of Johanna Straavaldsen.

32. ICW, Report on the Quinquennial Meetings, 33.

33. ICW, Report on the Quinquennial Meetings, 13, 231–232.

34. National Council of Women, Biennial of the Proceedings of the National Council of Women, Washington, January 1916, and the Executive Meeting, New York, June 1916: with Report of the International Congress of Women, San Francisco, Cal., November, 1915 (Washington, DC: National Council of Women, 1916), 63, 67.

35. Caminetti to Commissioners of Immigration and Inspectors in Charge, Oct. 12, 1914, 001742/007/0416, INS.

36. Caminetti to Commissioners of Immigration and Inspectors in Charge, Oct. 12, 1914, 001742/007/0416, INS; Annual Report 1915, 271–272, 41.

37. Annual Report 1915, 41-42, 230; Annual Report 1916, 230, 224; Annual Report 1917 223; Annual Report 1918, 315."

38. Annual Report 1917, 201–202.

39. Kate Waller Barrett, "Protecting Immigrant Girls," Washington Times, March 9, 1914; Barrett, "Whose the Responsibility?"; Barrett, "The Deported Girl," ca. 1914 or 1915, Box 1, KWB.

40. NCW, Biennial of the Proceedings of the National Council of Women, 12–13; untitled article, Delphian Club Quarterly, ca. 1915, Box 3, KWB.

41. Annual Report 1915, 42; "To Aid Women Immigrants," New York Times, Apr. 8, 1915, 22; Jeanne D. Petit, The Men and Women We Want: Gender, Race, and the Progressive Era Literacy Test Debate (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2010), 66; Ira E. Bennett, "Humane Treatment of Alien Women," American Leader 7 (May 27, 1915): 595–598, 598.

42. Annual Report 1915, 267; Annual Report 1917, 223; Annual Report 1915, 230, 267.

43. Hearing at Philadelphia Immigration Station, Oct. 8, 1914, RG85 E9, 53835/153, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC (hereafter NARA).

44. S. Eugenie Gregg, Sept. 3, 1914, 53835/153, NARA.

45. Hearing at Philadelphia Immigration Station, 53835/153, NARA; Caminetti to commissioners of immigration, 001742/007/0416, INS.

46. Isabel McCartney, statement, Oct. 28, 1914, 53835/153, NARA; E. E. Greenawalt to commissioner general of immigration, Jan. 11, 1915, 53835/153, NARA.

47. Aiken, Harnessing the Power of Motherhood, 94–95.

48. Hester, Deportation, 90; Annual Report 1918, 318; Peña Delgado, "Border Control and Sexual Policing"; Christensen, "Mujeres Públicas."

49. Annual Report 1917, 180–181; Annual Report 1916, 208; Annual Report 1914, 110–111; Oharazeki, Japanese Prostitutes; Gardner, Qualities of a Citizen, 56.

50. Bureau of Immigration memo by Acting Secretary [J. B. Densmore], Mar. 8, 1917, 001742/007/0692, INS.

51. See, e.g., Annual Report 1917, 180–181, 183, 186, 269.

52. Hester, Deportation, 83–84; Annual Report 1916, 193; Annual Report 1918, 276.

53. US Congress, House, Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Relative to Citizenship of American Women Married to Foreigners, 65th Cong., 2nd sess., 1917, 16. On married women's citizenship, see Nancy F. Cott, "Marriage and Women's Citizenship in the United States, 1830–1934," American Historical Review 103, no. 5 (Dec., 1998): 1440–1474.

54. Caminetti to Barrett, Apr. 18, 1919, Folder: Department of Labor, Box 2, KWB.

55. Elizabeth Bernstein, Brokered Subjects: Sex, Trafficking, and the Politics of Freedom (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018); Jasmine Phillips, "Black Girls and the (Im)Possibilities of a Victim Trope: The Intersectional Failures of Legal and Advocacy Interventions in the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Minors in the United States," UCLA Law Review 62, no. 6 (August 2015): 1642–1675; Pliley, Policing Sexuality, 212–213; Laura María Agustín, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets, and the Rescue Industry (London: Zed Books, 2007); Aya Gruber, Amy J. Cohen, and Kate Mogulescu, "Penal Welfare and the New Human Trafficking Intervention Courts," Florida Law Review 68, no. 5 (Sept. 2016): 1333–1402.