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History of Sex Work in America

Betwixt The Sheets: The History of Sex, Scandal & Society

01-03-2024 • 56 mins

Despite lawmakers best efforts, sex work has been around for since record began...and will certainly go back even further.


We often explore the history of sex work in Europe, but what history does this huge industry have in America? How did the colonisation of America and the slave trade impact and shape it? And how did sex workers and brothels help in the American Civil War?


Kate's joined by Katie Hemphill, author of Bawdy City: Commercial Sex and Regulation in Baltimore, 1790–1915, to explore this history.


We're also joined by Jennifer and Tara, who are madams at the Mustang Ranch Brothel in Nevada, to hear what it's like to work at the oldest legal brothel in America.


This episode was edited by Tom Delargy. The producer was Stuart Beckwith. The senior producer was Charlotte Long.


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