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Lecture: 'Fighting the U.S. Sex Trade: Gender, Race & Politics'

Spanning the late 1970s to 2015, Prof. Carrie N. Baker’s new book tells the story of political collaboration among feminists, evangelical Christians, human rights advocates, and sex worker rights activists to shift perceptions and public policies on the prostitution of youth in the United States.

Campaigns against prostitution of young people in the United States have surged and ebbed multiple times over the last fifty years. In her new book, Fighting the US Youth Sex Trade: Gender, Race, and Politics, Prof. Carrie Baker examines how politically and ideologically diverse activists joined together to change perceptions and public policies on youth involvement in the sex trade over time, reframing 'juvenile prostitution' of the 1970s as 'commercial sexual exploitation of children' in the 1990s, and then as 'domestic minor sex trafficking' in the 2000s. Based on organizational archives and interviews with activists, Baker shows that these campaigns were fundamentally shaped by the politics of gender, race and class, and global anti-trafficking campaigns. Prof. Baker argues that the very frames that have made these movements so successful in achieving new laws and programs for youth have limited their ability to achieve systematic reforms that could decrease youth vulnerability to involvement in the sex trade.

Carrie N. Baker is Professor and Director of the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. She teaches courses on gender, law, public policy, and feminist activism, including topical courses on reproductive justice, sexual harassment and sex trafficking.

Co-Sponsored by: UMass Departments of History, Political Science & Legal Studies, WGSS, Sociology; Pre-Law Advising Office; Center for Women & Community