"FOR GOD'S SAKE DO SOMETHING!" Gen. Booth
FIGHTING THE TRAFFIC IN YOUNG GIRLS
Or War on the White Slave Trade
The Greatest Crime in the World's History
"FOR GOD'S SAKE DO SOMETHING"—General Booth
FIGHTING THE TRAFFIC IN YOUNG GIRLS
War on the White Slave Trade
A complete and detailed account of the shameless traffic in young girls, the methods by which the procurers and panders lure innocent young girls away from home and sell them to keepers of dives. The magnitude of the organization and its workings. How to combat this hideous monster. How to save YOUR GIRL. How to save YOUR BOY. What you can do to help wipe out this curse of humanity. A book designed to awaken the sleeping and protect the innocent.
ERNEST A. BELL
Secretary of the Illinois Vigilance Association—Superintendent of Midnight Missions, etc.
with Special Chapters by the following persons:
HON. EDWIN W. SIMS, United States District Attorney, Chicago. HON. HARRY A. PARKIN, Assistant United States District Attorney, Chicago. HON. CLIFFORD G. ROE, Assistant States Attorney, Cook County, Ill. WM. ALEXANDER COOTE, Secretary of the National Vigilance Association, London, England JAMES BRONSON REYNOLDS, of the National Vigilance Committee, New York. CHARLES N. CRITTENTON, President of the National Florence Crittenton Mission. MRS. OPHELIA AMIGH, Superintendent of the Illinois Training School for Girls. MISS FLORENCE MABEL DEDRICK Missionary of the Moody Church, Chicago. MISS LUCY A. HALL, Deaconess of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Chicago. PRINCIPAL D. F. SUTHERLAND, Red Water Institute, Red Water, Texas. DR. WILLIAM T. BELFIELD, Professor in Rush Medical College, Chicago. DR. WINFIELD SCOTT HALL, Professor in Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago MELBOURNE P. BOYNTON, Pastor of the Lexington Avenue Baptist Church, Chicago.
THIRTY-TWO PAGES OF STRIKING PICTURES
Showing the workings of the blackest slavery that has ever stained the human race.
Copyright, 1910 by G. S. BALL
Chapters not otherwise designated are by the Editor.
Introduction 13 Edwin W. Sims.
I. History of the White Slave Trade 18
II. The Suppression of the White Slave Traffic 29 William Alexander Coote.
III. The White Slave Trade of Today 47 Edwin W. Sims.
IV. Menace of the White Slave Trade 61 Edwin W. Sims.
V. A White Slave Clearing House; A White Slave's Own Story 74
VI. The True Story of Estelle Ramon of Kentucky 80 D. F. Sutherland.
VII. Our Sister of the Street 98 Florence Mabel Dedrick.
VIII. More about the Traffic in Shame 117 Ophelia Amigh.
IX. The Traffic in Girls 127 Charles N. Crittenton.
X. Warfare Against the White Slave Traffic 139 Clifford G. Roe.
XI. The Boston Hypocrisy 155 Clifford G. Roe.
XII. The Auctioneer of Souls 163 Clifford G. Roe.
XIII. The White Slave Trade in New York City 174 By a Special Contributor.
XIV. Barred Windows: How we Took up the Fight 190
XV. The Nations and the White Slave Traffic 199 James Bronson Reynolds.
XVI. The Yellow Slave Trade 213
XVII. How Snakes Charm Canaries 223
XVIII. Procuresses, and the Confession of One 234
XIX. Wanted—Fathers and Mothers 246
XX. Chicago's White Slave Market 253
XXI. The Failure and Shame of the Regulation of Vice 271
XXII. The White Slaves and the Black Plagues 280
XXIII. The White Slave Traffic and the Public Health 289 Dr. Winfield Scott Hall.
XXIV. The Vice Diseases 299 Dr. William T. Belfield.
XXV. Recruiting Grounds of White Slave Traffickers 305 Harry A. Parkin.
XXVI. Practical Means of Protecting Our Girls 314 Harry A. Parkin.
XXVII. Laws for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic 333 Harry A. Parkin.
XXVIII. A Pastor's Part 398 Melbourne P. Boynton.
XXIX. The Story of the Midnight Mission 412
XXX. Helen Chambers, Some Other Girls and "Daisy" 432
XXXI. Destruction of the Vice Districts of Los Angeles and 450 Des Moines
XXXII. Conditions in London 463 Lucy A. Hall.
XXXIII. For God's Sake, Do Something 472
Why Are You Weeping, Sister? 477
The Red Rose 480
To the Army of Loyal Workers who, in the name of God and Humanity, have enlisted in this Holy war for the Safety and Purity of Womanhood
"That glory may dwell in our land" is the motive of the writers of this book. With a true patriotism, that rejoices not in the iniquities we expose, that blushes crimson with humiliation over the crimes we record, that glows hot with indignation against the criminals we denounce, we have pursued the painful necessary task of telling the truth to the American people concerning evils that have made us reel with horror.
For the protection of the innocent, for the safeguarding of the weak, for the warning of the tempted and the alarm of the wicked, the truth must be told—the truth that makes us free.
Therefore we have used plain words—not coarse or vulgar, but chaste and true. Lawyers of the highest standing have introduced the legal language with which the statutes provide penalties for crimes against the honor and safety of women and girls. Physicians who are professors in medical colleges among the foremost in the world, men in reputation for their skill and beloved for their devotion to the people's welfare, have told here in medical terminology the intolerable consequences, to guilty and innocent, of the odious business of making commerce of girls and promoting the debauchery of young men. We are sure the time has come when millions will thank these lawyers and physicians for breaking the seal of secrecy and giving the people their birth-right—the truth.
It is told that after Dante had written his "Inferno" the women of Florence would turn pale and whisper to each other as he passed, "There goes the man who has been in Hell." Some of us have gone to the abyss and have seen things which are not lawful for a man to utter. Such as could fitly be told, and must be told, we have been telling for years past, knowing that the truth must prevail.
"Stronger than the dark the light, Stronger than the wrong the right."
To our great joy the magazine having the largest circulation in the world, "Woman's World," with more than two million subscribers, took up the appeal for the safety of American and alien women and girls in September of last year. This magazine has already printed or caused to be printed and circulated fully fifty million pages, and it is enlisted for the war—war on the most shameful crime of debauchery and exploiting the youth of both sexes.
This is a critical time for our nation. We must now decide whether to stamp out the White Slave Traffic and its attendant vices, or to go the broad way that has led both ancient and modern nations to destruction.
"Today we fashion destiny, Our web of fate we spin. Today for all hereafter, Choose we holiness or sin; Today from lofty Gerizim Or Ebal's cloudy crown, We call the dews of blessing Or the bolts of cursing down."
Concerning the effect of vice upon the destiny of nations the Encylopaedia Britannica (Volume 32, page 32), says truly: "Though it may coexist with national vigor, its extravagant development is one of the signs of a rotten and decaying civilization * * * a phase which has always marked the decadence of great nations."
But though we thus speak we are confident that this is truly the land of the free—free, glad, safe womanhood—and the home of the brave—men brave enough to protect our girls and to deal with the White Slave traders and all their sort as they deserve.
By Edwin W. Sims, United States District Attorney, Chicago.
I am firmly convinced that when the people of this nation understand and fully appreciate the unspeakable villainy of "The White Slave Traffic" they will rise in their might and put a stop to it. The growth of this "trade in white women," as it has been officially designated by the Paris Conference, was so insidious that it reached the proportions of an international problem almost before the people of the civilized nations of the world learned of its existence.
The traffic increased rapidly, owing largely to the fact that it was tremendously profitable to those depraved mortals who indulged in it, and because the people generally, until very recently, were ignorant of the fact that it was becoming so extensive. And even at this time, when a great deal has been said by the pulpit and the press about the horrors of the traffic, the public idea of just what is meant by the "white slave traffic" is confused and indefinite.
It is my hope and belief that this work, edited by the scholarly and devoted Ernest A. Bell, whose life of toil for the wayward and the fallen has endeared him to all who know of him and his work, will do much to make the nature, scope and perils of this infamous trade better understood.
The characteristic which distinguishes the white slave traffic from immorality in general is that the women who are the victims of the traffic are forced unwillingly to live an immoral life. The term "white slave" includes only those women and girls who are actually slaves—those women who are owned and held as property and chattels—whose lives are lives of involuntary servitude. The white slave trade may be said to be the business of securing white women and of selling them or exploiting them for immoral purposes. It includes those women and girls who, if given a fair chance, would, in all probability, have been good wives and mothers and useful citizens.
Only a little time ago there were many thousands of our best citizens who were unable to bring themselves to believe that an international traffic in white women really existed. The statement seemed too sensational for their acceptance. If any readers remain who are still unconvinced that such an international traffic is a fact, let them consider the following, quoted from the annual report for 1908, of Hon. Oscar S. Straus, the Secretary of Commerce and Labor:
"An international project of arrangement for the suppression of the white-slave traffic was, on July 25, 1902, adopted for submission to their respective governments by the delegates of the various powers represented at the Paris conference, which arrangement was confirmed by formal agreement signed at Paris on May 18, 1904, by the Governments of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Norway, and the Swiss Federal Council. This arrangement, after submission to the Senate, was proclaimed by President Roosevelt June 15, 1908, and is printed in full in the report of the Commissioner General of Immigration. The purpose of the arrangement is set forth in the preamble, which states that the several governments, 'being desirous to assure to women who have attained their majority and are subjected to deception or constraint, as well as minor women and girls, an efficacious protection against the criminal traffic known under the name of trade in white women ("Traite des Blanches"), have resolved to conclude an arrangement with a view to concert proper measures to attain this purpose'."
It is, of course, inconceivable that the distinguished representatives of these great governments would have entertained for consideration any subject not of vital and international importance.
There is still another point upon which I feel moved to place all possible emphasis—the hideous depravity and the fiendish cunning of the criminals who engage in this most abhorrent and revolting of all criminal pursuits.
Kipling said in one of his poems, describing the doings of lawless people in the camps of one of the Northern countries, that, "There is never a law of God or man runs north of Forty-nine." That and more too might be said of the districts where the white slaver grows rich from his traffic in girls. The men and the women who engage in this traffic are more unspeakably low and vile than any other class of criminals. The burglar and holdup man are high-minded gentlemen by comparison. There is no more depraved class of people in the world than those human vultures who fatten on the shame of innocent young girls. Many of these white slave traders are recruited from the scum of the criminal classes of Europe.
And in this lies the revolting side of the situation. On the one hand the victims, pure, innocent, unsuspecting, trusting young girls—not a few of them mere children. On the other hand, the white slave trader, low, vile, depraved and cunning,—organically a criminal.
In the prosecutions which I have officially conducted against this class of criminals the fact has developed that when caught they generally are willing to arrange to pay heavy fines. These offers have, of course, been refused and we have taken the position that we will in no case accept merely a fine. In all these cases already tried we have asked the court to impose jail sentences and we expect to continue that policy. Men and women who make a living and fatten off the shame, the disgrace and the ruin of innocent young girls are a menace to the community, to whom no quarter should be given.
The rule in my office with reference to this class of cases is to show no quarter—to extend no consideration of any kind. We are requiring heavy bail and asking for imprisonment in the penitentiary in case of conviction. And I may add that no criminal convictions secured as a result of my efforts have yielded me a personal satisfaction to be compared with that afforded by the conviction of those engaged in the white slave trade.
One word more: I hope soon to see the time when the laws of the land will as carefully protect the daughters of the United States from the destroying hand of the white slave trader as the international treaty agreements now protect the girl who is brought in from foreign shores.
EDWIN W. SIMS.
War on the White Slave Trade.
HISTORY OF THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE.
By the white slave trade is meant commerce in white women and girls for wicked purposes. Most of its history cannot be written, for two reasons: That these crimes are kept secret as far as possible, and that they are so revolting that their details cannot be published and ought not to be read anywhere outside of the bottomless pit.
Crimes against womanhood are as old as sin. From the day that the serpent beguiled Eve by his craftiness until now, there have been few days or nights when some daughter of Eve has not been deceived or forced into an evil life by some serpent or other.
In ancient Babylon the dishonoring of girlhood was a part of the temple service, as it is to this day in many temples of India. In the opinion of the German historical scholar, Dr. Grau, the temples of India probably derived the hideous custom from Babylon, which the Book of Revelation calls "the mother of the harlots and of the abominations of the earth." No wonder that Babylon was denounced by prophets and apostles, or that her crimes of slavery, cruelty, dishonesty and debauchery brought perpetual ruin upon the wicked city and nation. "Fallen, fallen is Babylon!" Up the valley of the Euphrates from Babylon, and westward among the Canaanites and Phenicians, the horrible alliance of religion and lust extended, until it reached Asia Minor and Greece.
At Corinth, a great commercial city and seaport, business shrewdness was linked with sensuality and profanation, and a great temple of Venus was built, where one thousand priestesses were required to lead a life of religious infamy to make money for their despicable masters. There were constant importations of new girls from Lesbos and the other Grecian isles. Then as now the devices of the white slave trader were assiduously employed to keep up and increase the number of profitable European and Asiatic girls.
It is pastime as well as business to these traffickers to drug, to make drunken, to deceive, to ensnare or to debauch by force the innocent, the confiding, the thoughtless, the weak. Whether for the ancient temple of Venus at Corinth or for the dens of shame in the white slave market of Chicago or Paris, beautiful victims who will earn much money for their masters and captors must be hunted and trapped.
At Athens the lawgiver Solon established houses of shame by statute, and filled them with slave girls for whom there was no possible escape. But whoever, man or woman, caused a freeborn Athenian girl to enter one of the houses incurred the penalty of death. It might be well if freeborn American girls were as thoroughly protected. An Athenian forfeited his citizenship on opening a house of shame. American citizenship in our large cities allows the white slave traders an astounding amount of political influence.
In Rome immoral women were enrolled by the police in a public register, and this public record of their evil life always remained to bar their way to repentance and respectability. Modern European cities, on the Continent, follow this hurtful custom, and it has been introduced without authority of law in some American cities.
Many bakers, barbers and keepers of taverns, baths and drug stores were also traders in women. These depraved traffickers were regarded with the greatest loathing by the Roman people. The white slave traders of ancient Rome probably differed little from the Italian traders to be found in so many parts of the world today, notably New York and Chicago. The poet Milton tells how his love of purity kept him in his youth from the evils practised at Bordello's, presumably an Italian resort in London. Persons desiring to know the trader's boasting over a young and beautiful girl who had come into his devilish power, will find it described in the old English play commonly attributed to Shakespeare, called "Pericles, Prince of Tyre."
An exceedingly bad example was set by some of the Roman emperors. Augustus even in his old age sent out men to bring him women and girls. The beautiful Mallonia stabbed herself rather than yield to the emperor Tiberius.
The emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, who was very virtuous and religious and wise according to Roman ideals, persecuted Christians to the extent of legally condemning Christian girls to the houses of infamy. Young women were seized and required to sacrifice to idols. Upon refusing they were dragged through the streets and given to a white slaver.
Some beautiful legends have been preserved which tell of miraculous deliverance of Christian girls from this most Satanic cruelty. St. Agnes, the story runs, was seized and stripped, but immediately her hair grew quickly and covered her like a garment. Dragged to a den of shame, she appeared transfigured, a wonderful light shining from her body, and no one dared to harm her. At length one bold ruffian came near her, but was struck dead at her feet by a thunderbolt.
The emperor Diocletian renewed these terrible persecutions. The church's only retaliation was the rescue of depraved women. Mary, an Egyptian, was a conspicuous penitent, who sailed for Jerusalem and spent her remaining years virtuously in the Holy Land.
The Christian emperor Theodosius II., who died in the year 450, laid heavy penalties on traffickers in women. Justinian, who came to the throne in 527, punished procurers with death. He was merciful toward erring women, but was unsparing toward every one who exploited them for gain.
The Latin writers, conspicuously Tacitus, represent the Germans, Franks and Gauls as very virtuous, and very severe in their punishment of offenders. The earliest known legislation in the northern kingdoms is in the Capitularies of Charlemagne, who was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope in St. Peter's at Rome on Christmas day in the year 800. Early in his reign in his northern dominions Charlemagne enacted that all who kept houses of shame or lent their aid to vice were to be scourged. He would spare neither bad women nor vile men.
But succeeding kings of France, very many of them, were themselves models not of virtue and kingliness, but of dishonor and debauch. Many of the clergy also were very immoral, and the whole nation became corrupt.
Louis IX. made the first earnest effort to check the evil. He issued an extreme edict, in 1254, that all immoral woman and all keepers and procurers should be at once exiled from France. After a reaction Louis renewed his efforts to extirpate the iniquity, and his son Philip continued to inflict severe penalties. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries several notorious procurers were burned alive at Paris. In the sixteenth century in cities of the south of France sometimes a woman of this detestable class was thrust into an iron cage and thrown into the river. When almost dead from drowning she was drawn out, and after a little the punishment was repeated. Many of the women who were burnt as witches were really condemned because they were procuresses or otherwise odiously immoral.
The rise of Chivalry greatly increased the safety of good women and diminished immorality among men. A higher moral tone was imparted to society everywhere. Faithful preachers cried out against the traffic in shame, the snaring of young girls and the immodesty and immorality which were found in convents, and even in churches. In the reign of Louis XI., about 1475, Father Maillard, a bold preacher of the time, excoriated the whole company of traffickers in girls, especially procuresses and citizens who let their property for houses of shame. The procuresses, he said, ought to be burned at the stake, and for women who corrupted the clergy he had no mercy, but invoked the wrath of God upon them. Louis XI. was himself extremely immoral, like so many of the kings of France.
Catharine de Medicis, who became queen of France when her husband Henry II. ascended the throne in 1547, exercised a baneful influence during three reigns. Her court of two hundred ladies introduced from Italy worse vices than had before been known in France. She did, however, try to diminish prostitution in Paris.
An ordinance of 1635 condemned all men engaged in what we now call the white slave trade to the galleys for life.
Louis XV. at fifteen years of age married Maria, daughter of Stanislas, the dethroned king of Poland. The whole life of Louis was one of idle sensuality. When he was old he established a seraglio of fifteen-year-old girls, the most beautiful that could be bought or kidnapped. On this harem he spent a hundred million francs, or twenty million dollars. It was he who, when warned of the impending ruin of his nation, said "After me the deluge." He died, detested by all, in 1774.
PARIS THE MODERN BABYLON.
Paris, the capital of such kings and the scene of such debauchery, became the source and headquarters of the world-wide white slave trade of the present time. With the spread of legitimate commerce to every part of the world, the long experienced traders in women sought a world-wide market for girls. There is not a civilized country which has not been exploited by the traders, alike as a hunting ground for victims and as a market in which to sell them.
All Europe, North America, Panama, South America, Egypt and other parts of Africa, India, China and Japan are the fields of operation of these atrocious men and serpentine women.
By no means all the traffickers are French. Many are Jews, many are Italians and Sicilians, some are Austrians, Germans, English, Americans, Greeks. But it is Paris that has made vice a fine art, and has made the white slave trade a wide-spread systematized commercial enterprise.
It is as true as it is lamentable that the beautiful city on the banks of the Seine, the center of fashion and of art, gained the shameful reputation of being the capital of the white slave trade, and deserved it, "by merit raised to that bad eminence."
In recent years the French government and people have felt keenly the reproach of this condition, and have been foremost in efforts to suppress the abominable commerce.
WHITE SLAVERS IN INDIA.
In 1893, during my missionary service in India, a clique of white slave traders was discovered in Calcutta. They were found to be trafficking not only in European girls whom they could lure to India, but also in little native girls, as young as nine years. There was great indignation in the capital and throughout India when these criminals were exposed and arrested.
The laws of India were at that time inadequate to punish them, but an old statute was found under which the Viceroy could deport undesirable aliens. So these wretches, too abominable to be endured in heathendom, were shipped back to Europe.
Those were the first white slave traders of whom I, a young missionary, had ever heard. Last year in Chicago a French trader told me that he had been in India, and I could not but wonder whether he had been deported from Calcutta or Bombay and made welcome in Chicago. The United States government soon afterward put him out of his wicked business.
Rev. Dr. Homer C. Stuntz, formerly of Calcutta, now of New York, told me of a frightened European girl who nervously rang his doorbell in Calcutta late at night. She had been deceived into going to India by false promises made to her by the hunters of girls. Learning their real purpose just in time, she fled from them, and inquiring the way to a missionary, she was directed to Dr. and Mrs. Stuntz, with whom she was safe, and thankful a million times.
How many hundreds of innocent American and European girls have been led away to heathen and Mohammedan lands, on false promises of good positions as teachers, governesses, or even as missionaries, only the open books of the day of judgment will disclose.
E. A. B.
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE WHITE SLAVE TRAFFIC.
By William Alexander Coote, Secretary National Vigilance Association for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, London, England.
Let me first of all greet you as co-workers in a cause which is very dear to the heart of God, and which is really Christianity in practice. How literally true it is that in this special form of social and humanitarian work we are seeking to save that which is lost! If this work is to be successfully done, if we are to find that which has been lost, then we must have a whole-hearted devotion to the search, and a close and intimate co-operation amongst the searchers.
We may belong to different political and social camps, we may even be as far apart as the poles in our religious sympathies and convictions, but within sound of the Divine call to this labour, in the presence of so gigantic an evil, we must unite, we dare not act as isolated units however enthusiastic or clever we may be, we must close up our ranks, and not only join hands but also hearts, and in the strength of God, with a strong inspiration from the Holy One, go forth to meet this Apollyon of evil, and in the name of humanity, and better still, in the name of God, give battle until the foe is vanquished, yea, eternally routed, the honour of womanhood vindicated, and the chains of lust loosened from the minds and hearts of humanity.
Whatever the results, be it ours to remember that in this conflict we are waging a holy crusade against the vice of men who would, in their own selfish vicious interest, besmirch the purity of the womanhood of the world. Let us also remember that in this war, if needs be, we must not shrink from the use of those carnal weapons, by means of which men are brought to judgment in this world, and made to pay some penalty for the deeds which have wrought so much evil in the lives of young women; but never let us forget that such weapons, however necessary, are not the weapons. If the victory is to be effective and final, then the weapons of this warfare, must be obtained from the armoury of God, with the use of which weapons there is also promise that if the battle is waged in His Name and for His sake, victory, triumphant, eternal, glorious victory is assured.
What is this White Slave Traffic with the condemnation of which the world is today ringing? Is it some new form of vice, with the introduction of which the world is staggered; or is it the old in modern dress? No, it is neither. It is simply the old vice, in the old form, doing the same old terrible work of enslavement of pure young womanhood, for the gratification of the debased and degraded passions of men. Lust knows no mercy, yea, it finds some degree of satisfaction in the cruelty inflicted on the victims of its unholy greed.
This traffic in the virtue of woman is now well known. Its methods are the same, but its results, with a growing civilization are more painful and destructive to its victims. It has no geographical boundaries, but in every clime, this hideous monster of vice seeks its victims, with a relentless and inhuman ferocity. As one surveys the results of this evil in every land, one is led to cry "How long, O Lord, how long, before men's inhumanity to women shall cease, and the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our Father?"
Permit me, as a matter of historical interest, to call your attention to the simple origin of this new crusade for the suppression of the White Slave Traffic, which had its birth, under circumstances of great interest to all workers, in the year 1898. As the Secretary of the National Vigilance Association it had for years been my duty to search for missing young women, sometimes at home and sometimes abroad. In my journeys abroad, prior to 1898, I had in some instances found the missing girl, under circumstances of a most painful character. It was the old story—the promise of a good situation, or the promise of a suitable marriage, were the means invariably used to entrap and ensnare them. Once in the hands of the traffickers, they were hurried away, from country to country, until the highest bidders obtained the virtue, honour, and the life of the victims of these inhuman traffickers. In my various journeyings these ghastly facts were over and over again brought to my knowledge. Their truth I was unfortunately frequently able to verify, so that from personal observation and knowledge I knew this state of things to exist, yea, to be ever on the increase. I knew that just as the honest merchant deals with his merchandise in the course of trade, sending certain goods to certain markets of the world, so this hideous trade was under the control of a syndicate of men and women, who bought and sold the virtue of women, in the same manner as the merchant sells his wares—to the highest bidder.
Here was indeed a revelation, so far as I personally was concerned. For a long time I had known of the existence of this traffic, but I had no idea of its widespread character. I had not dreamt of the scientific and businesslike manner in which it was conducted. Here, indeed, was the explanation of the disappearance of hundreds, yea, thousands, of girls so often reported as missing from their homes, and for whose return mothers waited year after year in vain.
The revelation enveloped me as a dark cloud. In vain I tried to disperse it. Surely there was some way of combating this gigantic evil. Here indeed was the Philistine Giant of Evil. The people were indifferent. The laws were impotent. There was no public opinion on the subject. True, some of my journeys to different countries had resulted in the homecoming of some who had been falsely beguiled into the way of evil, but this was as nothing compared to that which appeared to be impregnable to the forces of righteousness.
The darkness of the picture obsessed me. It clung with an octopus-like grip to my soul. I truly found trouble and sorrow, intensified by the consciousness of perfect helplessness to grapple with such a vast area of evil. It was world-wide, and whatever the remedy, it would have to be universal in its application. This experience seemed to bring me to the very porch of hell.
Could nothing be done to cope with this state of things? Could earth with all its multifarious efforts of Prevention and Rescue find no solution of this fearful problem? Would no one be found able to fence the top of this Tarpeian Rock, over the precipice of which, the virtue of womanhood was being constantly flung? Was this feature of lust never to be quenched, or must it for ever be fed with the priceless gem in the crown of true womanhood? Was there no means of stopping the unholy demand, as that alone would cause the supply to cease?
These were some of the questions which came again and again to my mind as I pondered this mighty question.
As I thus mused, a sweet and holy vision came to me. I was not asleep, neither was I fully awake so far as this world was concerned. The heart and soul were in the throes of a new birth. I know not whether it was a vision, a dream, or a Divine message. I heard no voice, I saw no form, but clear, emphatic, and distinct came the solution of the problem. It was as follows:
"If I could go to every capital of Europe, if I could interest the leading people and government of each country, if I could induce the courts of Europe to take up this matter; if I could then induce the governments to meet in conference and decide to deal with it from an international point of view, surely the evil would not only be checked, but to a large extent would be eradicated." How, without any qualifications, I tramped through Europe, went to Egypt, America, and South Africa, is a story which is told in detail elsewhere, but suffice it to say that every little point of the dream or vision was carried out, with the result that today there are established in every capital of Europe, in North and South America, in Egypt, and in South Africa, large and influential National Committees co-operating with their respective governments with the object of completely removing this hideous crime from the face of the earth.
In our propaganda in Europe it was not only necessary to point out the nature of the disease we were attacking, but also the remedy we proposed.
Having carefully studied the methods of the members of these syndicates of evil, we knew exactly the kind of organization needed to counteract their wicked designs.
Part of the programme submitted to the people of Europe, was the necessity of inducing their respective Governments to hold an official conference, to mutually decide upon certain measures, for the better protection of young women traveling or accepting situations in any part of the world.
This official conference was organized, chiefly through the National Vigilance Association, and the European Powers and others were officially invited by the Government of France to take part. In July, 1902, in response to an invitation from the French Government, 16 countries were represented by 36 delegates, who met at the Foreign Office in Paris, to consider what measures would be adopted to effectually break up these syndicates of evil. After five days' deliberation the outcome of their labors was the drafting of an International Agreement, which, in our opinion, if adopted by all civilized countries, would so fully protect young women, that the moral risks attendant upon their travelling in any part of the world, either for business or recreative purposes, would be greatly reduced, if not altogether done away with. The soil being already prepared, the decisions arrived at by the Official Conference found ready acceptance by the National Committees of Europe. The subsequent working of this Agreement has fully demonstrated its value and effectiveness in the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic.
I purpose referring to three of the clauses in the Agreement, which I feel is a woman's charter of moral liberty, and as it has been accepted by all the countries of Europe, and by North and South America, the moral interests of young women ought to be fully protected from the Machiavellian efforts of the White Slave Traders.
Article 2 of the International Agreement is as follows:
"Each of the Governments undertakes to have a watch kept, especially at railway stations, ports of embarkation, and en route, for persons in charge of women and girls destined for an immoral life. With this object, instructions shall be given to the Officials and all other qualified persons to obtain, within legal limits, all information likely to lead to the detection of criminal traffic.
"The arrival of persons who clearly appear to be the principals, accomplices in, or victims of, such traffic shall be notified, when it occurs, either to the authorities of the place of destination, or to the Diplomatic or Consular Agents interested, or to any other competent authorities."
We had by our investigations discovered that the chief places of danger were the ports of embarkation or debarkation and the railway stations of the various countries. Here it was that the strange young woman would be spoken to in her own language by apparently a sympathetic lady, who would offer her every assistance, even to providing her with a lodging, which the new arrival in a strange country would be only too ready to accept. We knew this, we had become familiar with the fact that the railway stations at home and abroad were the hunting grounds of men and women engaged in the White Slave Traffic. It was on these facts, and this evidence, that Article 2 was agreed upon by the delegates at the Official Conference.
We are all familiar with the fact that all laws, however good, are comparatively useless unless they are breathed into by the national life of the country where they exist. Their use is in proportion to the energising power of the people interested in their administration. This Article 2 was formulated in response to the desire of the people, and when it was granted, was welcomed by them with warmth and enthusiasm which augured well for its future successful administration. We are glad to be able to assert that the high hopes to which it gave birth amongst the people of Europe, have been more than realised.
Immediately on the ratification of the Agreement the National Vigilance Association, by deputation, pointed out to the British Government that the duties involved in carrying out this Article, were hardly such as could be entrusted to policemen, not even to men, who if they were placed at the ports or railway stations of the United Kingdom would not be likely to win the confidence of foreign young women coming to England. This apart altogether from the fact that the persons stationed at the ports and railway stations would require to know several languages, as well as to be possessed of much common sense and discretion. To undertake this work this Association offered to engage a large number of lady workers, possessing a knowledge of European languages, if the Government would authorise them to do so. This was agreed to, and the National Vigilance Association commenced a work which they carried on for the last five years, during which time their workers have met at the railway stations in London, and at several of the most important English ports, 16,000 young women, 80 per cent of whom have been of foreign nationality, and quite 40 per cent of whom would have been in moral peril had it not been for the assistance rendered by the workers on their arrival in England.
Thus Article 2 has done much more than establish a clear and definite method of protection for young travellers. It has roused the heart of Europe, and drawn the attention of the people to the need of being in attendance at the railway stations to assist young women, and to protect them from the men and women who frequent those places for the purpose of decoying them from the path of virtue.
The Society "Les Amies de la Jeune Fille," in its early days, realised the danger to young girls travelling, and thus early commenced to safeguard them against it. Much was done, but nothing commensurate with the great need that existed.
When the Governments agreed to Article 2 of the Protocol, every National Committee in Europe felt such a sense of their responsibility, that many of them, as we in England, placed workers at the railway stations of their respective countries.
But, perhaps, the most remarkable development in connection with Article 2, was the spontaneous and marvellous manner in which the Roman Catholic Church aroused itself, and provided a number of ladies as station workers throughout Europe, to look after and care for the moral welfare of Catholic girls.
The Baroness de Montenach, residing at Freibourg, Switzerland, who had attended the first Congress for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic held in London, in 1899, saw the opportunity which Article 2 offered, and at once appealed to the women of the Catholic Church, who responded with so much enthusiasm, that today they have one of the finest and most carefully planned International Catholic Associations for Railway Station Work. We know it from personal observation and can speak in the most unqualified manner of the devotion of the Catholic ladies throughout Europe who give their time and money for the protection primarily of Catholic girls, though they are always ready to assist girls of other creeds.
Thus by means of Article 2 of the International Agreement we now have Europe covered with a network of agencies, which protect young girls from moral trouble in a most efficient and striking manner.
The organisation we have in Europe is threefold, and so complete, that so far as Europe is concerned, it is well-nigh impossible for a young girl to fall into moral trouble, if she will but avail herself of the help which is ready at all times and in all places. We have three active and efficient organisations at work—Les Amies de la Jeune Fille, primarily, but not exclusively for the care of Protestant girls; the International Catholic Association for befriending young girls, primarily, but not exclusively for the protection of Catholic girls; and the ladies connected with the National Committees for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, who work at the railway stations on behalf of girls of all creeds and all nationalities.
The more we understand the practical side of the railway station work, the more strongly are we convinced that in it we have the work which, properly organised, enthusiastically and efficiently carried on, will relieve society of the need of much of the philanthropic effort which comes into operation when moral trouble has overtaken the unfortunate young girl.
I have left myself very little room to do more than simply quote two of the other articles of that remarkable International Agreement to which I have referred. Article 3 says:
"The Governments undertake, when the case arises, and within legal limits to have the declarations taken of women or girls of foreign nationality who are prostitutes, in order to establish their identity and civil status, and to discover who has caused them to leave their country. The information obtained shall be communicated to the authorities of the country of origin of the said women or girls, with a view to their eventual repatriation.
"The Governments undertake, within legal limits, and as far as can be done, to entrust temporarily, and with a view to their eventual repatriation, the victims of a criminal traffic when destitute to public or private charitable institutions, or to private individuals offering the necessary security."
This clause when properly worked by the various philanthropic agencies in connection with the authorities will be the means not only of rescuing many who have been flung into the way of shadows, but of bringing to justice the men and women responsible for their moral ruin. I have only to point to a recent Act in America, passed by Congress more than 12 months since, based upon this very Article to show how great will be its preventive character, if put into operation by any country.
The American Act to which I refer, states that any young girl of foreign origin, who is found to be leading a life of prostitution within three years of her landing in America, shall be arrested, and if she has been induced to lead the life by another person, he or she, on proof, shall be liable to arrest, and on conviction, to very severe penalties, in the shape of imprisonment and fine, and if of foreign origin to deportation.
We watched the beneficent operation of this Act in the United States, and rejoiced to see how conspicuously successful it was in dealing with the traffic. We had even, through the International Bureau, called the attention of the National Committees in Europe to the effective way in which the Act was dealing with the traffickers in America, and urged them to get a similar one passed in their own country, when, to our intense disappointment the Judges of the Supreme Court in America, discovered a flaw in one of its chief clauses, and, I am told that in consequence, hundreds of men and women, who had been convicted as traffickers, were immediately let loose upon society, to again engage in this lawless traffic.
What a call to this Congress to be up and doing! You must not rest, you dare not hesitate, until you have renewed that law, and if needs be, strengthened it so as to deal effectively with these inhuman monsters. This is the one thing for you to be doing until it is done. Rouse the public to a sense of the gravity of the situation. Give your legislators no rest, until they have amended the law in the direction indicated.
In London the operation of this clause has been demonstrated by the improved condition of our streets. The open parade of flaunting vice has been much modified, and the foreign element of evil has found it far more difficult to carry on its ramifications than formerly.
There will be no difference of opinion amongst us as to the usefulness of Article 6 in the Protection of Young Girls, which is as follows:
"The Contracting Governments undertake, within legal limits, to exercise supervision, as far as possible, over the offices or agencies engaged in finding employment for women or girls abroad."
It is common knowledge that the Servant's Registry Office, has, like the railway station, been too ready a means in the hands of the unscrupulous traders in vice. An application for a servant, governess, or a companion to a lady, offering good wages and a comfortable home, in a foreign country, has always met with a ready response, and by such methods these traders have been able to command the flower of girlhood. How many scores of young women have by these means been inveigled into a foreign land, to find themselves hopelessly enslaved into a life which is worse than a living death. The nature of this evil was well-known to those who took part in the Official Conference, and they set themselves to work to prevent these registry offices being the means, even innocently, of acting as agents for the traffickers in vice. That their efforts were effective is proved in those countries where Article 6 has been put into operation.
We can bear testimony to its efficient working in many places in England. Where it is in operation, the registry office proprietors are compelled to ascertain the bona fide character of the situations abroad offered to young women, and in this way it has foiled and de-accustomed to use these agencies to decoy young girls to their moral ruin.
I have only been able to refer to a few of the many plans for the better moral protection of young women, provided by the work for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic, but sufficient has been adduced to show how many new weapons have been forged in this direction by the International Agreement, for the use of individuals as well as of nations. It is a woman's charter, which for the first time in the history of the world, regards the moral well-being of a young woman as a national asset of great value to the country in which she lives. But the Agreement can only be of real value in those countries where the people have sufficient interest in the welfare of their young women to organise themselves to assist their Governments in its working.
Let me close this paper with a strong appeal, a loud call, to the men and women of America with like passions and sympathies with their English brethren across the Atlantic. We have much in common. Our hearts as well as our language are the same. We are influential and actuated by the same religious impulses. Let us then as one people, join hands across the sea in this holy enterprise, and sweep from the world this awful blight upon young womanhood. Remember it is not a crime peculiar or common to men of one nationality. All nations, more or less, have taken part. Be it ours, at this Congress, to inaugurate a world-wide crusade, in the name of God and of our common humanity, against this crime. Remember, the forces of righteousness and purity are stronger than the forces of impurity. We may receive checks when engaged in the conflict, but about the ultimate victory there is no shadow of doubt. Let us in strong faith look up unto the hills from whence cometh our help, and the battle, however prolonged, is won. Let the old and the new world link themselves together, under one banner and one leadership, spread the Light of Truth on this question, and scatter the men who delight in evil, and the darkness by which their deeds are surrounded.
I appeal especially to the women of America to rise in the dignity of womanhood, and demand the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic in America, yea in the whole world, and thus give to young women those rights and that protection which should be their common heritage. Let me close by quoting Lowell's words, which on many occasions have proved a trumpet call to some forgotten duty:
"Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side; Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom or blight, Parts the goats upon the left hand, and the sheep upon the right. And the choice goes on for ever 'twixt that darkness and that light."
THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE OF TODAY.
By Edwin W. Sims, United States District Attorney, Chicago.
There are some things so far removed from the lives of normal, decent people as to be simply unbelievable by them. The "white slave" trade of today is one of these incredible things. The calmest, simplest statements of its facts are almost beyond the comprehension or belief of men and women who are mercifully spared from contact with the dark and hideous secrets of "the under world" of the big cities.
You would hardly credit the statement, for example, that things are being done every day in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and other large cities of this country in the white slave traffic which would, by contrast, make the Congo slave traders of the old days appear like Good Samaritans. Yet this figure is almost a literal truth. The man of the stone age who clubbed the woman of his desire into insensibility or submission was little short of a high-minded gentleman when contrasted with the men who fatten upon the "white slave" traffic in this day of social settlements, of forward movements, of Y. M. C. A. and Christian Endeavor activities, of air ships and wireless telegraphy.
Naturally, wisely, every parent who reads this statement will at once raise the question: "What excuse is there for the open discussion of such a revolting condition of things in the pages of a published book? What good is there to be served by flaunting so dark and disgusting a subject before the family circle?"
Only one—and that is a reason and not an excuse! The recent examination of more than two hundred "white slaves" by the office of the United States district attorney at Chicago has brought to light the fact that literally thousands of innocent girls from the country districts are every year entrapped into a life of hopeless slavery and degradation because parents in the country do not understand conditions as they exist and how to protect their daughters from the "white slave" traders who have reduced the art of ruining young girls to a national and international system. I sincerely believe that nine-tenths of the parents of these thousands of girls who are every year snatched from lives of decency and comparative peace and dragged under the slime of an existence in the "white slave world" have no idea that there is really a trade in the ruin of girls as much as there is a trade in cattle or sheep or other products of the farm. If these parents had known the real conditions, had believed that there is actually a syndicate which does as regular, as steady and persistent a "business" in the ruination of girls as the great packing houses do in the sale of meats, it is wholly probable that their daughters would not now be in dens of vice and almost utterly without hope of release excepting by the hand of death.
Is not this, then, reason enough for a little plain speech to parents?
The purpose of all our laws and statutes against crime is the suppression of crime. The protection of the people, of the home, of the individual is the purpose which inspires the honest and conscientious prosecutor. This is what the law is for, and if this result of protection to individuals and homes can be made more effective and more general by a statement such as this, then I am willing to make it for the public good. And the most direct and unadorned statement of facts will, I think, carry its own conviction and make everything like "preaching" or denunciation superfluous.
The evidence obtained from questioning some 250 girls taken in federal raids on Chicago houses of ill repute leads me to believe that not fewer than fifteen thousand girls have been imported into this country in the last year as white slaves. Of course this is only a guess—an approximate—it could be nothing else—but my own personal belief is that it is a conservative guess and well within the facts as to numbers. Then please remember that girls imported are certainly but a mere fraction of the number recruited for the army of prostitution from home fields, from the cities, the towns, the villages of our own country. There is no possible escape from this conclusion.
Another significant fact brought out by the examination of these girls is that practically every one who admitted having parents living begged that her real name be withheld from the public because of the sorrow and shame it would bring to her parents. One said: "My mother thinks I am studying in a stenographic school"; another stated, "My parents in the country think I have a good position in a department store—as I did have for a time—and I've sent them a little money from time to time; I don't care what happens, so long as they don't know the truth about me." In a word, the one concern of nearly all those examined who have homes in this country was that their parents—and in particular their mothers—might discover, through the prosecution of the "white slavers," that they were leading lives of shame instead of working at the honorable callings which they had left their homes and come to the city to pursue. There are, to put it mildly, hundreds—yes, thousands—of trusting mothers in the smaller cities, the towns, villages and farming communities of the United States who believe that their daughters are "getting on fine" in the city, and too busy to come home for a visit or "to write much," while the fact is that these daughters have been swept into the gulf of white slavery—the worst doom that can befall a woman. The mother who has allowed her girl to go to the big city and work should find out what kind of life that girl is living and find out from some other source than the girl herself. No matter how good and fine a girl she has been at home and how complete the confidence she has always inspired, find out how she is living, what kind of associations she is keeping. Take nothing for granted. You owe it to yourself and to her and it is not disloyalty to go beyond her own words for evidence that the wolves of the city have not dragged her from safe paths. It is, instead, the highest form of loyalty to her.
Again, there is, in another particular, a remarkable and impressive sameness in the stories related by these wretched girls. In the narratives of nearly all of them is a passage describing how some man of their acquaintance had offered to "help" them to a good position in the city, to "look after" them, and to "take an interest" in them. After listening to this confession from one girl after another, hour after hour until you have heard it repeated perhaps fifty times, you feel like saying to every mother in the country: Do not trust any man who pretends to take an interest in your girl if that interest involves her leaving her own roof. Keep her with you. She is far safer in the country than in the big city, but if go to the city she must, then go with her yourself; if that is impossible, place her with some woman who is your friend, not hers; no girl can safely go to a great city to make her own way who is not under the eye of a trustworthy woman who knows the ways and dangers of city life. Above all, distrust the "protection," the "good offices" of any man who is not a family friend known to be clean and honorable and above all suspicion.
Of course all the examinations to which I have referred have been conducted for the specific purpose of finding girls who have been brought into this country from other lands in defiance of the federal statute, passed by Congress February 20, 1907. This act declares that any person who shall "keep, maintain, support or harbor" any alien woman for immoral purposes within three years after her arrival in this country shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be liable to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for five years at the discretion of the court. When the department of justice at Washington decided that this law was being violated, the United States District Attorney at Chicago was instructed to take such action as was necessary to apprehend the violators of the act and convict them. One of the first steps required was the raiding of the various dives and houses of ill fame and the arrest of the girl inmates, as well as the arrest of the keepers and the procurers of the white slaves.
While the federal prosecution is officially concerned only with those cases involving the importation of girls from other countries—there being no authority under the present national statutes for the federal government to prosecute those concerned in securing white slaves who are natives of this country—it was inevitable that the examination of scores of these inmates, captured in raids upon the dives, should bring to officers and agents of the department of justice an immense fund of information regarding the methods of the white slave traders in recruiting for their traffic from home fields.
Whether these hunters of the innocent ply their awful calling at home or abroad their methods are much the same—with the exception that the foreign girl is more hopelessly at their mercy. Let me take the case of a little Italian peasant girl who helped her father till the soil in the vineyards and fields near Naples. Like most of the others taken in the raids, she stoutly maintained that she had been in this country more than three years and that she was in a life of shame from choice and not through the criminal act of any person. When she was brought into what the sensational newspapers would call the "sweat box" it was clear that she was in a state of abject terror. Soon, however, Assistant United States District Attorney Parkin, having charge of the examination, convinced her that he and his associates were her friends and protectors and that their purpose was to punish those who had profited by her ruin and to send her back to her little Italian home with all her expenses paid; that she was under the protection of the United States and was as safe as if the king of Italy would take her under his royal care and pledge his word that her enemies should not have revenge upon her.
Then she broke down and with pitiful sobs related her awful narrative. That every word of it was true no one could doubt who saw her as she told it. Briefly this is her story: A "fine lady" who wore beautiful clothes came to her where she lived with her parents, made friends with her, told her she was uncommonly pretty (the truth, by the way), and professed a great interest in her. Such flattering attentions from an American lady who wore clothes as fine as those of the Italian nobility could have but one effect on the mind of this simple little peasant girl and on her still simpler parents. Their heads were completely turned and they regarded the "American lady" with almost adoration.
Very shrewdly the woman did not attempt to bring the little girl back with her, but held out hope that some day a letter might come with money for her passage to America. Once there she would become the companion of her American friend and they would have great times together.
Of course, in due time, the money came—and the $100 was a most substantial pledge to the parents of the wealth and generosity of the "American lady." Unhesitatingly she was prepared for the voyage which was to take her to the land of happiness and good fortune. According to the arrangements made by letter the girl was met at New York by two "friends" of her benefactress who attended to her entrance papers and took her in charge. These "friends" were two of the most brutal of all the white slave traders who are in the traffic. At this time she was about sixteen years old, innocent and rarely attractive for a girl of her class, having the large, handsome eyes, the black hair and the rich olive skin of a typical Italian.
Where these two men took her she did not know—but by the most violent and brutal means they quickly accomplished her ruin. For a week she was subjected to unspeakable treatment and made to feel that her degradation was complete and final.
And here let it be said that the breaking of the spirit, the crushing of all hope for any future save that of shame is always a part of the initiation of a white slave. Then the girl was shipped on to Chicago, where she was disposed of to the keeper of an Italian dive of the vilest type. On her entrance here she was furnished with gaudy dresses and wearing apparel for which the keeper of the place charged her $600. As is the case with all new white slaves she was not allowed to have any clothing which she could wear upon the street.
Her one object in life was to escape from the den in which she was held a prisoner. To "pay out" seemed the surest way, and at length, from her wages of shame, she was able to cancel the $600 account. Then she asked for her street clothing and her release—only to be told that she had incurred other expenses to the amount of $400.
Her Italian blood took fire at this and she made a dash for liberty. But she was not quick enough and the hand of the oppressor was upon her. In the wild scene that followed she was slashed with a razor, one gash straight through her right eye, one across her cheek and another slitting her ear. Then she was given medical attention and the wounds gradually healed, but her face was horribly mutilated, her right eye is always open and to look upon her is to shudder.
When the raids began she was secreted and arrangements made to ship her to a dive in the mining regions of the west. Fortunately, however, a few hours before she was to start upon her journey the United States marshals raided the place and captured herself as well as her keepers. To add to the horror of her situation she was soon to become a mother. The awful thought in her mind, however, was to escape from assassination at the hands of the murderous gang which oppressed her.
One recital of this kind is enough, although instances by the score might be cited which differ only in detail and degree.
It is only necessary to say that the legal evidence thus far collected establishes with complete moral certainty these awful facts: That the white slave traffic is a system operated by a syndicate which has its ramifications from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific ocean, with "clearing houses" or "distributing centers" in nearly all of the larger cities; that in this ghastly traffic the buying price of a young girl is from $15 up and that the selling price is from $200 to $600—if the girl is especially attractive the white slave dealer may be able to sell her for as much as $800 or $1,000; that this syndicate did not make less than $200,000 last year in this almost unthinkable commerce; that it is a definite organization sending its hunters regularly to scour France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Canada for victims; that the man at the head of this unthinkable enterprise is known among his hunters as "The Big Chief."
Also the evidence shows that the hirelings of this traffic are stationed at certain ports of entry in Canada, where large numbers of immigrants are landed, to do what is known in their parlance as "cutting out work." In other words, these watchers for human prey scan the immigrants as they come down the gang plank of a vessel which has just arrived and "spot" the girls who are unaccompanied by fathers, mothers, brothers or relatives to protect them. The girl who has been spotted as a desirable and unprotected victim is properly approached by a man who speaks her language and is immediately offered employment at good wages, with all expenses to the destination to be paid by the man. Most frequently laundry work is the bait held out, sometimes housework or employment in a candy shop or factory.
The object of the negotiations is to "cut out" the girl from any of her associates and to get her to go with him. Then the only thing is to accomplish her ruin by the shortest route. If they cannot be cajoled or enticed by promises of an easy time, plenty of money, fine clothes and the usual stock of allurements—or a fake marriage—then harsher methods are resorted to. In some instances the hunters really marry the victims. As to the sterner methods, it is of course impossible to speak explicitly, beyond the statement that intoxication and drugging are often used as a means to reduce the victims to a state of helplessness, and sheer physical violence is a common thing.
When once a white slave is sold and landed in a house or dive she becomes a prisoner. The raids disclosed the fact that in each of these places is a room having but one door, to which the keeper holds the key. In here are locked all the street clothes, shoes, and the ordinary apparel of a woman.
The finery which is provided for the girl for house wear is of a nature to make her appearance on the street impossible. Then added to this handicap, is the fact that at once the girl is placed in debt to the keeper for a wardrobe of "fancy" clothes which are charged to her at preposterous prices. She cannot escape while she is in debt to the keeper—and she is never allowed to get out of debt—at least until all desire to leave the life is dead within her.
The examination of witnesses has brought out the fact that not many of the women in this class expect to live more than ten years after they enter upon their voluntary or involuntary life of white slavery. Perhaps the average is less than that. Many died painful deaths by disease, many by consumption, but it is hardly beyond the truth to say that suicide is their general expectation. "We all come to it sooner or later," one of the witnesses remarked to her companions in the jail, the other day, when reading in the newspaper of the suicide of a girl inmate of a notorious house.
A volume could be written on this revolting subject, but I have no disposition to add a single word to what will open the eyes of parents to the fact that white slavery is an existing condition—a system of girl hunting that is national and international in its scope, that it literally consumes thousands of girls—clean, innocent girls—every year; that it is operated with a cruelty, a barbarism that gives a new meaning to the word fiend; that it is an imminent peril to every girl in the country who has a desire to get into the city and taste its excitements and its pleasures.
The facts I have stated are for the awakening of parents and guardians of girls. If I were to presume to say anything to the possible victims of this awful scourge of white slavery it would be this: "Those who enter here leave hope behind." The depths of debasement and suffering disclosed by the investigation now in progress would make the flesh of a seasoned man of the world creep with horror and shame.
MENACE OF THE WHITE SLAVE TRADE.
By Edwin W. Sims, United States District Attorney, Chicago.
Right at the outset let me say in all frankness that I would never, from personal choice, write upon a subject of this character. Its sensationalism is personally repellent to me. On the other hand, no matter how carefully the public prosecutor may preserve the legal viewpoint and the legal temperament, his work may lead him into situations where he feels that he cannot, in common humanity, withhold from the public a knowledge of the things which he knows cannot fail to be of actual protective benefit to many homes; that to withhold the facts and disclosures which have come to him as an officer of the law would be to deprive the innocent and the worthy of a protection which might save many a home from sorrow, disgrace and ruin.
Again: The results of this legal work and of the explanations of the conditions uncovered in my former article have brought to me a gratifying knowledge of the practical and most effective rescue work being done by Rev. Ernest A. Bell of the Illinois Vigilance Association, of which Rev. M. P. Boynton is the president. These men and many of the settlement and slum workers of Chicago with whom I have come in contact are not only specialists in this field, but they are as devoted as they are practical. More perhaps because of the urgent assurances of the Rev. M. P. Boynton, Mr. Bell and others that giving to the public a statement of actual conditions has been of a great service to them in their hand to hand fight than to any other reason, I am moved to make another statement.
When the editor of the Woman's World urged me to write of "The White Slave Traffic of Today," I felt that I had an official knowledge of facts which the fathers and mothers of the country had a right to know in order to prevent the possibility of their daughters falling victims to the most hideous form of human slavery known in the world today. This consideration moved me to put aside my strong personal feelings against appearing in print in connection with a subject so abhorrent. Many results of that article have made me glad that I did so—and those results have also contributed to overcome my antipathy to a further pursuit of that subject. But in following this topic as I now do, I shall again emphasize the fact that I wish to say what seems to be needful in as unsensational a way as possible, and that I also wish to do that from the viewpoint of a public prosecutor who has, in the ordinary discharge of his duties, encountered this appalling situation, and not at all from the standpoint of the sentimentalist.
So far as the matter of sensationalism is concerned, that may be disposed of in the simple statement that the naked recital, in the most formal and colorless phraseology, of the facts already brought to light by the "white slave" prosecutions are in themselves so sensational that the art of the most brilliant orator, or the cunning of the cleverest writer, could not add an iota to their sensationalism. And it may as well be said here that it is quite impossible to even hint in public print of the revolting depths of shame disclosed by this investigation. Behind every word that can be said in print on this topic is a word of degradation of which the slightest hint cannot be given.
If there are any who are inclined to feel that the term "white slave" is a little overdrawn, a little exaggerated, let them decide on that point after considering this statement: "Among the 'white slaves' captured in raids since the appearance of my first article is a girl who is now about eighteen years of age. Her home was in France, and when she was only fourteen years old she was approached by a 'white slaver' who promised her employment in America as a lady's maid or companion. The wage offered was far beyond what she could expect to get in her own country—but far more alluring to her than the money she could earn was the picture of the life which would be hers in free America. Her surroundings would be luxurious; she would be the constant recipient of gifts of dainty clothing from her mistress, and even the hardest work she would be called upon to do would be in itself a pleasure and an excitement.
"Naturally she was eager to leave her home and trust herself to one who would provide her with so enriching a future. Her friends of her own age seasoned their farewells to her with envy of her rare good fortune.
"On arriving in Chicago she was taken to the house of ill-fame to which she had been sold by the procurer. There this child of fourteen was quickly and unceremoniously 'broken in' to the hideous life of depravity for which she had been entrapped. The white slaver who sold her was able to drive a most profitable bargain, for she was rated as uncommonly attractive. In fact, he made her life of shame a perpetual source of income, and when—not long ago—he was captured and indicted for the transportation of other girls, this girl was used as the agency of providing him with $2,000 for his defense.
"But let us look for a moment at the mentionable facts of this child's daily routine of life and see if such an existence justifies the use of the term 'slavery.' After she had furnished a night of servitude to the brutal passions of vile frequenters of the place, she was then compelled each night to put off her tawdry costume, array herself in the garb of a scrub-woman and, on her hands and knees, scrub the house from top to bottom. No weariness, no exhaustion, ever excused her from this drudgery, which was a full day's work for a strong woman.
"After her cleaning was done she was allowed to go to her chamber and sleep—locked in her room to prevent her possible escape—until the orgies of the next day, or rather night, began. She was allowed no liberties, no freedom, and in the two and a half years of her slavery in this house she was not even given one dollar to spend for her own comfort or pleasure. The legal evidence shows that during this period of slavery she earned for those who owned her not less than eight thousand dollars—and probably ten thousand dollars!"
If this is not slavery, I have no definition for it.
Let me make it entirely clear that the white slave is an actual prisoner. She is under the most constant surveillance, both by the keeper to whom she is "let" and by the procurer who owns her. Not until she has lost all possible desire to escape is she given any liberty.
Many—very many—letters have been received from parents who read the first article on this subject. A considerable number of them are from ministers of the gospel, from officers and members of law and order leagues, woman's clubs and kindred organizations. But there is a pathetic reminder which does not come from the public-spirited servants of the common good. These letters are from the fathers and mothers whose fears and suspicions were aroused by the warning that the girl who has left her home in the country, gone up to the city and does not come home to visit, needs to be looked up.
Before me, as I write, is a letter from a father which is a tragedy in a page. He begins the note by saying that the warning has aroused him to inquire after his "little girl." There is a pathetic pride in his admission that she was considered an uncommonly "pretty girl" when she left her home to take a position in Chicago. Her letters, he states, have been more and more infrequent, but that she does occasionally write home, and sometimes encloses a small amount of money. From the tone of the father's note it is evident that, while he is a trifle anxious, he asks that his daughter be "looked up" rather to confirm his feelings of confidence that she is all right than otherwise.
A glance at the address where she was to be found left no possible question as to the fate which had overtaken this daughter of a country home. So far as a knowledge of the girl's mode of life is concerned, no investigation was necessary—the location named being in the center of Chicago's "red light" district.
While the case was a sad one there appeared to be no violation of the Federal laws, the girl having come from a neighboring state. A Federal prosecution against those detaining her was, therefore, impossible. However, the case was placed in the hands of Mr. Bell of the Illinois Vigilance Association. Through his efforts she was rescued and shortly thereafter returned to her mother and brothers and sisters who had supposed that she was holding a respectable, but poorly paid position. They, however, welcomed a very different person from the pretty girl who went out from that home to make her way in the big city. She was pitifully wasted by the life which she had led, and her constitution is so broken down that she cannot reasonably expect many years of life, even under the tenderest care. What is still worse, the fact cannot be denied that her moral fibre is shattered and the work of reclamation must be more than physical.
The "white slaves" who have been taken in the course of the present prosecution have, generally, been very grateful for the liberation and glad to return to their homes. It has been necessary—for their own protection as well as for other reasons—to commit some of these unfortunates to various prisons pending the trial of the cases in which they are to appear as witnesses, and practically every one of them gives unmistakable evidence that imprisonment is a welcome liberation by comparison with the life of "white slavery."
Now as to the practical means which parents should use to prevent this unspeakable fate from overtaking their daughters. They cannot do it by assuming that their daughter is all right and that she will take care of herself in the big city. In a large measure it seems impossible to arouse parents—especially those in the country—to a realization that there is in every big city a class of men and women who live by trapping girls into a life of degradation and who are as inhumanely cunning in their awful craft as they are in other instincts; that these beasts of the human jungle are as unbelievably desperate as they are unbelievably cruel, and that their warfare upon virtue is as persistent, as calculating, and as unceasing as was the warfare of the wolf upon the unprotected lamb of the pioneer folk in the early days of the Western frontier.
I cannot escape the conclusion that the country girl is in greater danger from the "white slavers" than the city girl. The perusal of the testimony of many "white slaves" enforces this conclusion. That is because they are less sophisticated, more trusting and more open to the allurements of those who are waiting to prey upon them.
It is a fact which parents of girls in the country should remember that the "white slavers" are busy on the trains coming into the city and make it a point to "cut out" an attractive girl whenever they can. This "cutting out" process (I use the technical term) consists of making the girl's acquaintance, gaining her confidence and, on one pretext or another, inducing her to leave the train before the main depot is reached. This is done because the various protective and law and order organizations have watchers at the main railroad stations who are trained to the work of "spotting," and quickly detect a girl in the hands of one of these human beasts of prey. Generally these watchers are women and wear the badges of their organizations.
But suppose that the girl from the country does not chance to fall in with the "white slaver" on the train, that she reaches the city in safety, becomes located in a position—or perhaps in the stenographic school or business college which she has come to attend—and secures a room in a boarding house. No human being, it seems to me, is quite so lonely as the young girl from the country when she first comes to the city and starts in the struggle of life there without acquaintances. All her instincts are social, and she is, for the time being, almost desolately alone in a wilderness of strange human beings. She must have some one to talk to—it is the law of youth as well as the law of her sex to crave constant companionship. And the consequences? She is sentimentally in a condition to prepare her for the slaughter, to make her an easy prey to the wiles of the "white slave" wolf.
The girl reared in the city does not have this peculiar and insidious handicap to contend with; she has been—from the time she could first toddle along the sidewalk—educated in wholesome suspicion, taught that she must not talk with strangers or take candy from them, that she must withdraw herself from all advances and, in large measure, regard all save her own people with distrust. As she grows older she comes to know that certain parts of the city are more dangerous and more "wicked" than others; that her comings and goings must always be in safe and familiar company; that her acquaintanceships and her friendships must be scrutinized by her natural protectors and that, altogether, there is a definite but undefined danger in the very atmosphere of the city for the girl or the young woman which demands a constant and protective alertness.
The training is almost wholly absent in the case of the country girl; she is not educated in suspicion until the protective instinct acts almost unconsciously; her intercourse with her world is almost comparatively free and unrestrained; she is so unlearned in the moral and social geography of the city that she is quite as likely, if left to her own devices, to select her boarding house in an undesirable as in a safe and desirable part of the city; and, in a word, when she comes into the city her innocence, her trusting faith in humanity in general, her ignorance of the underworld and her loneliness and perhaps homesickness, conspire to make her a ready and an easy victim of the "white slaver."
In view of what I have learned in the course of the recent investigation and prosecution of the "white slave" traffic, I can say, in all sincerity, that if I lived in the country and had a young daughter I would go any length of hardship and privation myself rather than allow her to go into the city to work or to study—unless that studying were to be done in the very best type of an educational institution where the girl students were always under the closest protection. The best and the surest way for parents of girls in the country to protect them from the clutches of the "white slaver" is to keep them in the country. But if circumstances should seem to compel a change from the country to the city, then the only safe way is to go with them into the city; but even this last has its disadvantages from the fact that, in that case the parents would themselves be unfamiliar with the usages and pitfalls of metropolitan life, and would not be able to protect their daughters as carefully as if they had spent their own lives in the city.
One thing should be made very clear to the girl who comes up to the city, and that is that the ordinary ice cream parlor is very likely to be a spider's web for her entanglement. This is perhaps especially true of those ice cream saloons and fruit stores kept by foreigners. Scores of cases are on record where young girls have taken their first step towards "white slavery" in places of this character. And it is hardly too much to say that a week does not pass in Chicago without the publication in some daily paper of the details of a police court case in which the ice cream parlor of this type is the scene of a regrettable tragedy. The only safe rule is to keep away from places of this kind, whether in a big city like Chicago or in a large country town. I believe that there are good grounds for the suspicion that the ice cream parlor, kept by the foreigner in the large country town, is often a recruiting station, and a feeder for the "white slave" traffic. It is certain that this is the case in the big city, and many evidences point to the conclusion that there is a kind of free-masonry among these foreign proprietors of refreshment parlors which would make it entirely natural and convenient for the proprietor of a city establishment of this kind, who is entangled in the "white slave" trade, to establish relations with a man in the same business and of the same nationality in the country town. I do not mean to intimate by this that all the ice cream and fruit "saloons" having foreign-born proprietors are connected with the "white slave" traffic—but some of them are, and this fact is sufficient to cause all careful and thoughtful parents of young girls to see that they do not frequent these places.