Project Researchers

Julia Laite (Birkbeck, University of London; Principle Investigator)

Julia Laite’s research explores the history of trafficking in the early twentieth century British world, and she is currently writing a book that is a microhistory of one case of so-called ‘white slavery’, set in Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Britain.  Alongside the project’s co-investigator Philippa Hetherington, she is also working on a comparative history of trafficking and migration control in the British world and Russian world in the early twentieth century.  Her articles have appeared in History Workshop Journal, the International Review of Social History, Past & Present (forthcoming), and The Historical Journal.  Her first book, Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960 was published in 2011.   Julia is a Director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre and a lecturer in modern history at the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck, University of London.

Philippa Hetherington (University College London; Co-Investigator)

Philippa Hetherington researches the emergence of ‘trafficking in women’ as a specific crime in turn of the century Russia and Eurasia. This period was one in which state and social understandings of the subject’s freedom, to move across borders or to consent to sex, were being reconceptualized.  Philippa’s forthcoming monograph argues that the traffic in women, as a legal category and cultural discourse, was key to this process of reconceptualization, as it became a heuristic for making sense of the entanglement of legality, clandestinity, consent and coercion operational in cross border migration.  Alongside the project’s primary investigator, Julia Laite, she is working on a comparative history of trafficking and migration control in the British world and Russian world in the early twentieth century.  Her articles have appeared in journals such as Gender and History and Russian History. She is a Lecturer at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London.

Jessica Pliley (Texas State University; Network Member)

Jessica R. Pliley is an associate professor of women’s and gender history at Texas State University in San Marcos and she holds a Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. Her book, Policing Sexuality: The Mann Act and the Making of the FBI, was published by Harvard University Press in the fall of 2014. It joins a body of work that asserts that sex trafficking has long been an issue for activists of various traditions, yet it encourages us to consider not only how reformers have organized to eradicate sex trafficking, but also how the policies they championed were ultimately implemented. The young FBI’s enforcement of the White Slave Traffic Act (the Mann Act) led to the growth of the FBI into a national law enforcement agency that policed sexuality in ways that upheld traditional ideals of the patriarchal family.

Additionally, she has authored an article exploring the feminist politics within the League of Nations Committee on the Trafficking of Women and Children in the Journal of Women’s History and has another article that examines how concerns about white slavery served to bolster some women’s rights advocates’ claims that women be included in the federal immigration service at the turn of the century published in the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.

 Elisa Camiscioli (Binghamton University; Network Member)

Elisa Camiscioli’s research explores the intersection of race, intimacy, and gendered forms of mobility. She has written about immigration to and from France, trafficking between Europe and Latin America, and the circulation of women and men both within and beyond France and its empire. She is the author of Reproducing the French Race: Immigration, Intimacy, and Embodiment in the Early Twentieth Century (Duke University Press, 2009), along with several articles on the gender of immigration and colonialism, appearing in Gender & History, the Journal of Women’s History, and French Politics, Culture, & Society. Elisa is an Associate Professor of History at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and the Co-Editor of the Journal of Women’s History.

Sonja Dolinsek (Erfurt University and Universität zu Berlin, Network Member)

Sonja Dolinsek is a doctoral student at the Chair of Global History of the 19th Century at Erfurt University and associate lecturer (Lehrbeauftragte) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She was a Research Associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center at Mount Holyoke College in 2016. Her research interests include transnational and global history and gender history, with a focus on human rights, crime and labor as well as theory and methods. Currently, she is working on her PhD project on the “Transnational politics of sexual labor in the second half of the 20th century”.

Sandy F. Chang (University of Texas at Austin, Network Member)

Sandy F. Chang is a doctoral candidate in the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include migration and trafficking, gender and sexuality, and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. Currently, she is working on her PhD project, “Across the Nanyang: Gender, Intimate Labor, and Chinese Migration to British Malaya, 1870s-1930s,” which explores the “forgotten” history of Chinese migrant women, who traveled as wives, servants, and prostitutes, to the Malay Peninsula at a time when modern migration control first emerged as a system of gender and racial exclusion.

Fatemeh Hosseini (Georgetown University)

Fatemeh Hosseini’s research explores the history and politics of trafficking and prostitution in twentieth-century Iran. She is currently completing a manuscript on the rise and fall of Tehran’s red-light district, Shahr-e No. In addition, her work explores the history of temporary marriage, a quasi-legal practice in the Shi’ite transnational, in the 20th century that has been exploited in the contemporary Middle East to transport women and girls across national borders. She teaches at Georgetown University.

Magaly Rodriguez (University of Leuven; Network Member)

Magaly Rodriguez Garcia is a Lecturer at the Research Unit Modernity and Society, 1800-2000 of the University of Leuven (KU Leuven). Her research focuses on subalternity, the history of prostitution, international law and international organisations’ campaigns against trafficking and forced labour. She is a member of the European COST Action ‘Comparing European Prostitution Policies: Understanding Scales and Cultures of Governance’ and of the Leuven Centre for Global Governance. Her articles have appeared in International Review of Social HistoryLe Mouvement Social and Journal of Belgian History.


Julia Martinez (University of Woolagong, Network Member)

Julia Martínez is an Associate Professor of History at University of Wollongong, Australia, and holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2013-2017) to research the historical ‘traffic’ in women and children in the Asia Pacific region. She has published in Australian and Asian history including on Chinese in Vietnam and Aboriginal-Asian histories. Her monograph (with Adrian Vickers) The Pearl Frontier: Indonesian Labor and Indigenous encounters in Australia’s northern trading network (University of Hawai’i Press, 2015) won the 2016 Queensland Literary Award’s History Book Award; the Northern Territory History Book Award; and was shortlisted for the 2016 Australian Historical Association’s Ernest Scott Prize. She has co-published with Claire Lowrie on colonial domestic service history in Gender and History and Pacific Historical Review.

Keely Stauter-Halsted (University of Illinois at Chicago, Network Member)

Professor Stauter-Halsted is a specialist in the history of modern Eastern Europe, Poland, Jewish history, gender history, and the Holocaust. Much of her publications examine non-elite social classes and excluded population groups in Polish society. Her work has also explored Polish-Jewish relations and the history and culture of Jewish communities in Poland. She is currently working on Jewish trafficking and migration from Eastern Europe.


April Haynes (University of Wisconsin-Madison; Network Member) 

April Haynes is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her first book, Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-century America (University of Chicago Press, 2015) received a James F. Broussard prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, and her essays have appeared in The Journal of the History of Sexuality and Women’s Activism & ‘Second Wave’ Feminism, Transnational Histories. Her current research explores the deep roots of the current rescue industry, which grew out of women’s transatlantic abolitionist and moral reform networks during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She argues that markets for feminized, intimate labor were central to capitalist expansion as the early American republic turned toward empire.

Grace Peña Delgado (University of California, Santa Cruz; Network Member) 

Grace Peña Delgado is Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies in History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research interests include North American border-making processes, Chinese in the Americas, the policing of sexuality and morals, and diasporas and transnationalism. She is the author of Making the Chinese American: Global Migration, Localism, and Exclusion in the US-Mexico Borderlands (Stanford: 2012), distinguished as a CHOICE Academic Title, and a forthcoming work on prostitution, deportation, and policing in North America’s borderlands, Sex and State: White Slavery and Morals Policing at North America’s Modern Borderlands. Delgado piece, “Border Control and Sexual Policing” in the Western Historical Quarterly received numerous best article awards. In addition to her research, she has also received an Excellence in Teaching Award from UCSC’s Academic Senate.