Date of Award



History; Political Science

Faculty Advisor

Jonathan Bean


Policing tendencies toward sex work has changed tremendously since America was colonized. There are four major time in which policing tendencies differed greatly from each other: the pre-progressive era (colonial period until late 19thCentury), the Progressive Era (late 19th century to the early 20th century), the era of state criminalization (most of the 20th century), and the current era of nascent decriminalization (late 20thcentury to today). Public opinion of sex workers also changed between each era. The current era of policing may be a stepping stone to total decriminalization if public opinion towards sex workers continues to be positive and thus makes decriminalization politically feasible.