The Abolition of the White Slave Traffic

What Women might do with the ballot: The Abolition of the White Slave Traffic  (1911) 
by Clifford G. Roe



Published by the
Price, 5 cents

The Abolition of the White Slave Traffic.


The white slave problem is becoming more important everyday. People everywhere are thinking about it and discussing ways and means to bring about the abolition of white slavery.

In considering this movement it is well to point out what women might do with their ballot to help bring success.

Right now political battles are being waged for and against vice, and the traffic in girls.

Great political movements are being launched against politicians who have connived at and even encouraged vice and its right hand partner, white slavery, in order to gain personal, selfish power and perhaps wealth at the expense of the nation's manhood and womanhood.

Women, having cast aside the mantle of affected prudery and false modesty, are aroused the world over. They are important factors in this great crusade for better civic morals. And that they may be spurred on to even greater efforts is the hope of the writer.

What is the white slave traffic?

It is the widely accepted term for the procuring, selling or buying, inveigling or encouraging of women for the purpose of holding, forcing or enticing them into a life of prostitution. The term white slavery, perhaps, is a misnomer, and not really descriptive, since the traffic reaches to every race and color, originating in Europe, where its victims are white; however, it is generally used to designate the business by which the vice merchant is kept supplied.

The white slave market is the traffic in girls for immoral demands. This market is governed by the laws of supply and demand. There are various social and economic causes for this supply and demand and the result has been the opportunity for trading in the bodies and souls of our daughters.

They are procured into disreputable lives with or without their consent, and they are held slaves by the conditions which surround them. These conditions range from forcible detention to ingenious deception with discouragement and disease as intermediary stages. "They become slaves to their keepers, slaves to their patronage, slaves to the habit of drink, slaves to cigarettes, slaves to drugs, slaves to the very despair that shame and moral wreckage bring."

Those creatures, both male and female, who trade in human flesh to fill resorts of vice are called panders, procurers and white slave traders. The methods employed by these traders are varied. In fact all the ways and means for luring victims to shameful occupations have not been fathomed. Each day one who studies the question becomes more appalled at the magnitude of the problem and the innumerable and intricate avenues that must be followed to reach those engaged in this despicable business.

By appealing to the love instinct in girls, flattering their vanity, and promising employment to the poor are the more common methods used.

Perhaps the best way to ascertain how the procurers work is to go to court records. There one will find indisputable facts, and the greatest progress made thus far in the abolition of the white slave traffic has been brought about by giving these facts to the public. Hard, cold facts must convince.

All one has to do is to pick up a daily paper in almost any city, to read an account of the arrest, prosecution and conviction of a procurer. The average reader will immediately say, that case is exceptional. To prove that these cases are not exceptional let us glance for a moment over the list of cases tried in the courts of Chicago since the middle of May, 1911.

It should be understood that it is not suggested that Chicago is worse than any other large city. In fact Chicago, in proportion to its population, has less vice than many other cities, and white slavery is practically broken up there.

That investigations are being carried on there, and that hundreds of vice vendors have been convicted proves that Chicago is trying to become cleaner and better.

Note the various methods used by the panders in the following cases.

Adam Lewicki is the owner of a disreputable resort in South Chicago. He met a girl in a chop-suey restaurant on Monroe street, and offered her money and other inducements to become an inmate of his house. She refused and he had her arrested on a charge of stealing fifteen dollars from him. His plan was to pay her fine and thus have her in his power. She told all of the details to detectives who caused Lewicki to be arrested. He was convicted by a jury for an attempt at Pandering and sentenced to imprisonment.

A case which shows how the love method is used effectively is that of Edward O'Brien. This fellow persuaded a girl to believe that he had fallen in love with her and even went so far as to marry her. After the marriage ceremony was performed he placed her in a house on the West Side of Chicago. She testified in court that he compelled her to lead a life of shame, and to give him the money she received from it. He was also sentenced to imprisonment and to pay a large fine.

Often the methods used by procurers are very simple. That is the very reason their business is so dangerous to society. Lawrence Mangano and Ernest Pagano knew how susceptible to flattery most girls are, so in this case they appealed to this human weakness. These two fellows procured a girl to become an inmate of a vice resort. She was working in a restaurant on the South Side, and one of these men was very attentive to her for several weeks, taking her to theatres, praising her beauty, and buying clothes for her. The case against Pagano was dismissed because he furnished the evidence to convict. Mangano was sentenced to imprisonment and pay a large fine. What became of the girl? She was sent to the House of the Good Shepherd.

How the girl seeking honest employment is lured to ruin was brought out at the trial of Samuel Davidson. This is the most frequent method the white slave traders employ to trap innocent girls.

On July fourth Davidson became acquainted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a sixteen year old girl who is the daughter of one of the city employees there. Her mother died three years ago, and the little girl has been her father's housekeeper since then. Davidson learned from her that she was growing tired of working at home, and wanted to find employment where she could save some money. Davidson gave her his card and told her that if she would come to Chicago he would find employment for her. He corresponded with her after that until heat last induced her to go to Chicago. She went there on the fourteenth of August, and met him by appointment. There was an aviation meet going on at that time, so he took the girl to see the airships, then to a theatre, and later took her to a resort of shame where he said she could stay until he secured employment for her. She was not acquainted with Chicago, but soon found out the character of the place, got away and reported the case to the police that same night. Davidson was arrested and waived a trial by jury, and was sentenced by Judge Uhlir to serve six months' imprisonment and pay a fine of three hundred dollars, the minimum sentence in Illinois for Pandering. The girl was sent back to her married sister in Milwaukee.

The most dangerous and the meanest of the white slave traders are the women who have entered this lucrative vice field. Snug fortunes have been made by these beasts who prey upon their sisterhood. Women panders are often creatures of superior culture and intelligence, who carry on their wretched business with cunning and dispatch. Even a former school teacher, Dora Douglas, was convicted and sentenced to prison in Chicago in December of 1908, for procuring girls from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and other places.

One would think that women who are naturally more sympathetic than men would shrink from such a business. However, transactions which involve outrages such as cannot be surpassed in the worst annals of historic misrule, these women procurers often will perform without the quiver of a lip, or the droop of an eyelash. Richly attired, of fascinating manner, sometimes possessing remnants of former beauty, and withal keen as razors, and sharp as steel traps, these women are almost the most dangerous creatures extant in the civilized world. They gain the confidence of girls more readily than do the men procurers. They may be "Madams" procuring for their own resorts; or they may be mere agents, getting a stipulated price for every girl they "land."

Alma Kendall, who kept a house in Chicago, induced two girls to leave their homes in Memphis, Tennessee, and go to live in her house. They were there for two weeks before the facts came to light, and the Kendall woman was arrested. She was tried in court, convicted and sentenced by Judge Hopkins to serve six months in prison, and pay a fine of three hundred dollars.

In all, during the summer months, eleven persons were convicted in Chicago for pandering. The total prison sentences was five years and ten months, and the total fines, twenty-seven hundred dollars. This simply means that even in Chicago, which thus far has been unique in its ardent prosecution of white slave traders, in most cases minimum sentences have been imposed. In the city where the leading men and women, both socially and commercially, are using money and influence against vice, and are supporting an office that will not compromise in its fight against white slavery it is quite the exception to have the maximum sentence meted out by the courts.

What is the reason? It is the same reason which keeps other cities from instituting any prosecutions at all. It is the same reason which has nourished this white slavery in its infancy and unwittingly encouraged it to wax fat and grow powerful. The reason is a sleeping public conscience. In the nerve racking race for money and power, the dollar has been glorified above all things else. Let some one steal a pocket book containing a dollar, and this some one is very likely to get the limit when he or she stands before the judge for sentence. But let this same some one steal one of our daughters and sell her body and soul, and in the great majority of cases the sentence is the lowest possible.

It is not the judge who should be blamed for this. He is human and interprets the laws according to the standards of life about him. The trouble lies with the people who create and mould these standards, the people who allow public officials to value a dollar bill at a higher rate than they value a human being.

The foregoing number of cases prosecuted in one city within a few months, proved by court records, demonstrates that white slavery is a real issue. These cases illustrate the more common artifices used by the procurers. They show us how subtle is the evil business. They prove how futile are prosecutions alone. Prosecusions serve only to focus the public mind on an atrocious evil that has crept into our social structure.

It is not our belief that by prosecuting white slaves they will be exterminated. We do know that in so doing we cut off the source of supply of new recruits and thereby diminish the total number. However, the abolition of the white slave traffic is impossible, under existing conditions, through court prosecutions alone.

Those who have consistently and honestly fought white slavery fully realize that to convict the slave traders is but to scratch at the surface of the problem. This has been but the first great task. The next is to arouse the public conscience to its duty.

Women have aided so far, and cannot but be important factors now in the complete abolition of the white slave traffic. When we look at the question squarely we know that the only effective way to abolish white slavery is to abolish the whole social evil. One goes with the other. White slavery furnishes the fuel that feeds the flame of the social evil.

In this new era when men and women who stand for a higher moral tone in society are beginning to take the reins of government into their own hands, great things will be accomplished, perhaps not all at once, but speedily.

The vice problem has perplexed all ages and all peoples, but in the past men alone have ruled. Now that women are coming into their own right let us see what they may do toward the solution of this problem.

Professor Zueblin said two or three years ago in Boston: "Three great movements are shaping society at the present day, the political movement, the labor movement and the woman movement."

All these movements must work for a better moral standard. To accomplish this we must not only plan for present day needs, but we must look well to the future.

In the past few years a vigorous educational and legal campaign against the dealers in vice has been going on.

Laws both national and State have been passed and are now being enforced to some extent.

Some States have as yet not legislated against the traffic in girls. Women in those States should organize a systematic campaign to secure this legislation. If they find the road rough and filled with thorns they should proceed cautiously and perhaps not ask for too much at once.

In Illinois where the first law against panders was passed, we first pushed a law through which was fairly effective, then at the next session we amended that law and made it more broad and more effective. We have yet to ask there for a higher penalty for the first offense.

Having secured a law against the traffic in girls, see that the public officials enforce the law. Too often political influence will be used to prevent the active and sincere enforcement of these laws.

Does one for a moment believe that this white slave business could have grown to such importance if it had not been protected by officials who often maintain systems of blackmail, graft and tribute as revolting as they are dangerous to the general welfare of society. It is fairly safe to say that wherever houses of vice are operating in defiance of the laws, and most of them are so doing, some one is getting protection money. This is the political sore which women should help cure.

More important than the law against panders is the injunction and Abatement Law which has been passed by Iowa and Nebraska, because it gets right down to bed-rock, to the very source of the white slave evil. This is the house of disrepute itself.

The writer is informed that in the two above States white slavery has been abolished. Therefore, if both the Pandering Law and the Injunction and Abatement Law can be passed, you will have excellent weapons for the attack you should make in your State. The women of Idaho having helped to pass a law against pandering, are now busily working to secure an Injunction and Abatement Law.

Women have played an important role throughout the United States in launching and conducting campaigns for laws which will help abolish white slavery.

It was the women of California who caused the recent laws to be passed there. They employed an attorney to draft laws suitable to the needs of the State. Women of other States have successfully backed similar laws. The next step is to demand their enforcement.

In Seattle, where it was believed that the laws against vice were not enforced, the women shared honors with the men in electing officials pledged to rigidly enforce these laws.

In our efforts to abolish the traffic in girls, it does not seem fair to fight the unfortunate women who either gravitate or are tricked into lives of shame. The persons to fight are those who encourage, maintain and protect the social evil. That is where the laws of supply and demand enter into the question. White slavery is the outgrowth of a stimulated demand, incited and encouraged by men and women, low and degenerate as they are grasping and avaricious. Newspapers and court records for several years past tell of the vast number of girls that are inveigled into disreputable resorts. Therefore, we must assume that the voluntary supply is not sufficient to meet the demand.

We should remember that if there is no demand there will be no supply.

Why not wage relentless war against those who create the demand as well as those who make up the supply?

Why not insist upon the arrest and conviction of those who visit immoral houses, as well as those who fill them as inmates?

These are practical questions.

They concern the double standard of morals which men and women have established and maintain.

Social ostracism of men who encourage the social evil has never been more than very faint-heartedly attempted, owing perhaps to the "whip-hand" men have held until recently in the world's economics.

Women have felt that they had to marry; it was their economic necessity, or they thought it was. And men, knowing this, have not felt the need of being scrupulous. Therefore, girls of the tenderest up-bringing, the most unquestionable purity, have been willingly given by ambitious parents, or have given themselves, in marriage with men whose relations to the social evil were notorious.

However, that time is now passed, at least in America. No longer are women the serfs, nor the toys of men, but through education and changed economic conditions they have entered into the commercial and industrial life and are becoming more and more independent.

It seems the time has arrived when women should insist upon a single standard of morals for men and women.

More important, however, than all the laws against procurers of women and the social evil; more important than the enforcement of these laws are the plans which are being developed for the education of our children regarding public morals. These are preventive. They look toward the future.

Vice is a moral fault, a defect of the natural character, or a defect as the result of training and habits.

The social evil of the present age and the white slave traffic which springs from it are the results of generations of mistaken training.

An American author living in Paris is quoted as saying: "The usual American girl of today is a half-sophisticated, wholly self-assured babe, with too much knowledge of the world before she is married, and not enough of it after she is married." It would seem that just the reverse is true. Most American girls have too little knowledge of the world before marriage, and too much afterward. Knowledge of the right sort has been veiled too much with mystery both for the boys and the girls. Mothers and fathers have inherited affected prudery, false modesty and hypocritical innocence. Casting all these aside is the greatest step forward to better morals and cleaner citizenship which the public men and women and the progressive educators of our time have made. Of course, education in this direction must be conducted along safe and intelligent lines. It may take generations to mould the habits and train the minds in the right channel. But it is possible of accomplishment. In the homes and in the schools and colleges the knowledge of life that young people deserve to know should be given them. Young men will then have a higher respect for womanhood. To boys and girls life and its wonderful development and its holiness should be explained in the right way and at the right time.

Mighty things are waiting to be accomplished, and these things women might help accomplish with their ballot.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1926.

The author died in 1934, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.