During the 1920s, the League of Nations carried out the first intercontinental investigation into the traffic in women. Although this work is virtually unknown in criminology, the investigators, William Snow and Bascom Johnson, formulated the conceptual language of “trafficking” used today. It was also during the 1920s that Frederick Thrasher and John Landesco published their pioneering works on “organized crime” drawing on research in Chicago. The advantages of the League’s model can be seen in the response to a 1924 report of a white slave traffic ring in Los Angeles by August Vollmer, the celebrated founder of professionalism in American policing. Vollmer’s language of a white slave traffic ring in Los Angeles recalls a nineteenth-century understanding of traffic in women but previews the illegal enterprise model that emerges from the industrial city. Drawing on their understanding of crime in port cities, Snow and Johnson situate the traffic in women within a social networks model. Vollmer looked for the spider, Snow and Johnson looked at the web.
criminal network, historical criminology, human trafficking, illegal enterprise theory, organized crime, transnational crime
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Paul Knepper. "August Vollmer, Traffic in Women, and the Theory of Organized Crime" Social Sciences (2022). https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11070283