Vice commissions emerged during the early 20th century in metropolitan U.S. cities such as Chicago or Louisville as a way to suppress social problems. In New York, the equivalent would be the Bureau of Social Hygiene. The main focus of the vice commissions was prostitution and combating white slave traffic.

The context of the vice commissions was interlinked between sex, drugs, and vice reform. An investigation of prostitution often pointed to the practice of drug use, such as opium, heroin, and cocaine. Progressive reformers viewed prostitution and drug use as part ...

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