Mann Act 36 Stat. 825 (1910)

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MANN ACT 36 Stat. 825 (1910)

Congress sought to suppress prostitution in the so-called White Slave Act under the commerce power. Anyone transporting or aiding the transportation of a woman in interstate or foreign commerce "for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, or with the intent and purpose to induce, entice, or compel such woman or girl" to such immoral acts was guilty of a felony. Persuasion to cross state lines for these purposes "whether with or without her consent" was likewise a felony. Another section doubled the already stiff penalties (five years imprisonment or $5,000) in cases involving women under eighteen years of age. The act also authorized the Commissioner-General of Immigration to "receive and centralize information concerning the procuration of alien women and girls" for such purposes and required brothel-keepers to file statements regarding alien employees, exempting the keepers from prosecution for "truthful statements."

in hoke v. united states (1913) the Supreme Court sustained congressional power to enact the law under the commerce clause, relying squarely on champion v. ames (1903): "Congress, as an incident to [the commerce power] may adopt not only means necessary but convenient to its exercise, and the means may have the quality of police regulations."

David Gordon
(1986)