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Practical Means of Protecting Girls
By Harry A. Parkin, Assistant United States District Attorney, Chicago.
PHAT can be done about it?
are the recruiting agents for this vile traffic prefer to work There could be no legitimate excuse for exploiting in states more or less distant from the centers to which
the white slave trade in the public prints without their victims are destined. the definite and sincere purpose of securing practical and In view of all this it must be clearly apparent that the substantial protection against this terrible social scourge. need of the hour is legislation which will make it as difficult Such is as surely the purpose of this article as it has
and dangerous for a white slaver to take his victim from been that of the preceding articles by Hon. Edwin W.
one state into another as it is for him to bring a girl from Sims which have brought out a vast and interesting vol- France or Italy or Canada, or any other foreign country, to ume of correspondence.
a house of ill-fame in Chicago or any American city. Many of these letters have been from fathers and Therefore, it is suggested that if each state in the union mothers aroused to anxiety about daughters who have would pass and enforce severe and stringent laws against been allowed to seek a livelihood in large cities without this importation, this terrible traffic would be dealt a blow suitable oversight or protection. In some instances the in its most vulnerable part. Such an enactment'might well worst fears of these parents have been, by definite in- be worded as follows: vestigation, shown to be all too well founded.
“Whoever shall induce, entice or procure, or attempt Other letters have come, by the score, from public to induce, entice or procure, to come into this state, any officials and from public spirited men and women who woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or concuhave at last been stirred to a realization that there is an binage, or for any other immoral purpose, or to enter any actual, systematic and widespread
house of prostitution in this state, traffic in girls as definite, as estab
shall, upon conviction, be imprisonlished, as mercenary and as fiend
ed in the penitentiary for a period ish as was the African slave trade
of not less than one (1) nor more in its blackest days. And practi
than five (5) years and be fined not cally all these letters indicate that
more than five thousand ($5,000) very few of those who have been
dollars." finally aroused to the enormity of
One of the strangest results existing conditions have any clear
brought about by the recent white idea of what should or may be
slave prosecutions in Chicago and done to protect these daughters of
the publicity which they have reour own people from the ravages
ceived, has been the astonishment of the white slave traders.
of thousands of persons, as eviA letter from the Mayor of a
denced by letters, at the fact that Connecticut city is typical of the
such a wholesale traffic is actually common misconception among cul
in existence. But what is still more tivated and well informed public
astounding, not to say discouragofficials who have not given the
ing, is the reluctance of the other legal phases of the expression of
thousands to believe that many the white slave trade especial and
hundreds of men and women are exhaustive study. The Mayor
actually engaged in the business of writes:
luring girls and women to their "I should think that the Federal
destruction, and that this infamous Government would have to pass
traffic is being carried on in every stringent laws providing a heavy
state of the union every day of the penalty for all who are engaged
year. in this business. The law would
Perhaps the actuality of this awthen be the same in all states and
ful avocation may be made more people could not escape from its
clearly apparent to the innocent provision as they would if the
and unsophisticated doubters whose states tried to take up the matter
awakening and moral support is and passed conflicting statutes. An
needed, if I cite one or two inorganization might secure the
stances which have come to my passage of such an act by the
personal knowledge within the last Federal Government, but it hardly
Harry A. Parkin
few days. seems to me that it is necessary,
In a comfortable farm home in more than to state the facts, and have the members of a state bordering upon Illinois is an uncommonly atcongress take immediate action that would put an end to tractive young girl who has, almost by accident, been the whole matter."
delivered from the worst fate which can possibly befall a While it is probably true that the Federal Government young woman. Through secret service operations one of has power to prohibit the carrying of women from one the most dangerous "procurers” of this country was traced state to another for immoral purposes, that power has to the home in which this beautiful girl had been adopted not yet been specifically established by actual tests in as a daughter. The white slaver had already ingratiated court and that is therefore, in a sense, undefined. On the himself into her confidence and that of her foster-parents, other hand the states, under their police power, have a and arrangements had practically been made by which remedy in their own hands, and it would seem both logical she was to accompany him to Chicago, where he had a and natural that this power be exercised in the protection “fine position” awaiting her. If he had not been located of its own homes and daughters. As a matter of fact and his character made known to the household at the we have found literally scores of cases, in our investiga- time when this was done, she would now be a white slave tions relative to the importation from foreign countries of in a Chicago den. girls destined for immoral houses, where American born
Another case which has had a less fortunate terminagirls have been lured or kidnaped from a home in one tion is that which involves the "fake" marriage, a subterstate and carried to some large city in another state, there
fuge common in this wretched traffic. A young man made to be broken to the life of shame.
the acquaintance of a handsome girl in the North Side The federal investigations in Chicago and other localities district of Chicago. He was polished and plausible and have clearly established the fact that, generally speaking, the parents of the girl, who were ambitious for their houses of ill-fame in large cities do not draw their recruits daughter's advancement, were apparently flattered that he to any great extent from the territory immediately sur- should bestow his attention upon her. When, after very rounding them; for obvious reasons the white slavers who brief courtship, he proposed marriage, they offered no
objections and even set aside their own wishes when he suggested that he held prejudices against being married by a clergyman and against having a formal wedding. Consequently they went before a “Justice of the Peace,” who pronounced them man and wife—a "fake" Justice, who was merely a confederate of the white slaver. They went at once to San Antonio, Texas, he having claimed that he held a very profitable position in a large business concern in that city. When he arrived there the poor girl had her awful awakening, for she was promptly sold into the life of shame without hope of escape from its degrading servitude.
Another very effective regulation which every state will do well to adopt by enactment of its general assembly is that making the premises leased or used for a house of illfame liable for any and all fines against its lessee.
The following seems to me a desirable clause covering this point:
"Whoever keeps or maintains a house of ill-fame, or a place for the practice of prostitution or lewdness, or whoever patronizes the same, or lets any house, room or other premises for any such purpose, or shall keep a lewd, illgoverned or disorderly house to the encouragement of idleness, gambling, drinking, fornication or other misbehavior. shall be fined not exceeding one thousand ($1,000) dollars. When the lessee or keeper of a dwelling house or other building is convicted under this section the lease or contract for letting, the premises shall, at the option of the lessor, become void and the lessor may have like remedy to recover the possession as against a tenant liolding over after the expiration of his term. And whoever shall lease any house, room or other premises, in whole or in part, for any of the uses or purposes finable under this section, or knowingly permits the same to be used or kept, shall be fined not exceeding one thousand ($1,000) dollars and the house or premises so leased, occupied or used shall be held liable for, and may be sold for, any judgment obtained under this section."
Some enactment of this nature is particularly desirable for two reasons: First, because actual experience has shown that judgments obtained against keepers of such houses are difficult of collection and that the ones against whom the judgments are obtained are remarkably resourceful in avoiding punishment even after conviction. Second, it seems obvious that when a property uwner knows that his real estate is particularly available for houses of this character he is, if unprincipled enough to do so, bound to encourage the use of his premises for that which will bring him the largest money returns, This puts him in the way of fattening upon the wages of the social vice without incurring danger of punishment. Naturally he becomes a friend of the traffic and ready to aid and abet it wherever and whenever he can. Therefore it seems to me he should no longer be allowed to escape the penalties attached to those who engage in this infamous trade. As the owner of the property on which unlawful acts are persistently committed, and as a sharer in the unlawful profits of those acts, he should be made to share also in its perils and punishments; he should be made to feel ihat, as the owner of the property used for the purpose of harboring fallen women he is a link in the chain which draws innocent womanhood to its doom and that he must suffer to the full proportion of his guilt. Again, it is the first instinct of the lessee or keeper of such a house, on coming in contact with the law, to flee and forfeit his or her bonds. By making the property itself liable to forfeiture, absolute security against this kind of thing is established, thereby preventing many a miscarriage of justice and of just penalties.
Since the beginning of the recent prosecutions in Chicago a score of keepers, realizing their guilt and fearing prosecution have fled the country and have not yet been apprehended. If both the federal and the state governments had a law of this kind the escape of these criminals would not have involved a complete defeat of the law in their cases, for prosecution could have been brought against some person connected with their establishments, and when a conviction was secured the property occupied by them could have been closed out. A statute of this kind, wherever enacted, can scarcely fail to prove one of the most powerful and effective of all possible weapons against the white slave traffic And the smaller the city, the more effective will this weapon be found-which is only another way of saving that the larger the city the larger the toleration of the social vice.
One of the greatest weapons in the hands of the white slavers and of the keepers of houses of ill-fame to prevent the escape of fresh recruits and to submerge them into hopeless slavery is the system of indebtedness which is practiced in these places. The one object of those con.cerned in the subjugation of a girl who has become a victim of the wiles of the white slaver is to break down all hope of escape from the life of shame and bitterness into which she has been entrapped. Nothing has been found so effective a means to this end as the debtor system. The first thing a girl is compelled to do on being thrown into one of these houses is to buy an expensive wardrobe at from five to six times its actual value. To be more detinite, I have in my possession bills rendered against certain inmates taken from the dens. In these bills stockings costing 75 cents have been charged at $3.00; shoes costing $2.50 are charged at $8.00, and kimonos costing $4.00' are charged at $15.00. As the goods themselves were seized as well as the bills for them, I am able to make this statement. In every case I have found that the girl was compelled to renew her outfit of finery whenever the keeper so dictated, without regard to her need of it. Our investigations have all shown that when a keeper imagined that a girl, an inmate, is intending to leave the place either openly or secretly, a new outfit is forced upon her at absurd figures and she is told that she cannot leave until every cent of her indebtedness has been wiped out, and that if she attempts to do so, they will “put the law on her.” In the dozens of cases which I have examined there has not been a single one which has failed to show evidence of this kind. I have in my possession numerous copies of bills rendered agains: these wretched women in which their costumes reach as high a figure as $1,200 and even $1,500. This indebtedness system is mutually recognized and enforced between the keepers of all houses; in other words, no girl can leave one house and enter another unless she is able to show that she leaves no indebtedness behind her.
As this phase of business in the underworld is one ni the main props of white slavery it is well to go into it with definiteness and to give examples which illustrates its operation.
In one of the recent raids a big Irish girl was taken and held as a witness. She was old enough, strong enough and wise enough, it seemed to me, to have overcome almost any kind of opposition-even physical violence. She could have put up a fight which few men, no matter how brutal, would care to meet. I asked her why she did not get out of the house, which was one of the worst in Chicago. Her answer was: “Get out-I can't. They make us buy the cheapest rags and they are charged against us at fabulous prices; they make us change outfits at intervals of two or three weeks, until we are so deeply in debt that there is no hope of ever getting out from under. Then, to make such matters worse, we seldom get an accounting oftener than once in six months and sometimes ten months or a year will pass between settlements-and when we do get an accounting it is always to find ourselves deeper in debt than before. We've simply got to stick and that's all there is to it.”
To frame an enactment which will knock this prop of indebtedness system out from under the white slave business might appear to be a most difficult matter, and yet I believe that the legislature which enacts a statute of which the following clause is the essential part will go a long way towards accomplishing this most desired result:
“And whoever shall hold, detain, restrain, or attempt to hold, detain or restrain in any house of prostitution or other place, any female for the purpose of compelling such female, directly or indirectly, by voluntary or involuntary service or labor, to pay, liquidate or cancel any debt, dues or obligation incurred therein or said to have been incurred in such house of prostitution or other place, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary at hard labor for not less than two or more than ten years."
There is only one other enactment which all legislatures should be urged to pass, and that is one which strikes directly at the white slaver, the “procurer," the owner or the "fellow." Keepers of houses of ill-fame have discovered that the hideous task of keeping the unwilling white slave in subjection is much easier if a certain ownership of her is vested in a man. In many cases this man is the one who is directly responsible for placing the girl in the house, but this is not invariably the case. When it is the case he receives not only the lump purchase price down on the delivery of his victim to the house, but he is recognized by the keeper as her owner and master, the one to whom a certain percentage of her income is paid and with whom all settlement of her accounts are made. What is more important in the eyes of the keeper is that this man is held absolutely responsible for the girl's subjection, and if she attempts to escape he must cajole, threaten or beat her into subjection. In one of the recent raids I chanced to come upon visual demonstration of how this peculiar phase of white slavery operates in actual practice. One of these "fellows” was disciplining a girl whom he "owned"—and doing so by the gentle process of forcing her against the wall with his hands at her throat.
Some of these "fellows” “own” two or more, or perhaps more, white slaves, and on the income of their slavery these brutes live in luxury at expensive hotels, maintain expensive automobiles and lead lives of luxury, idleness and dissipation.
While some states have statutes directly aimed at this system, it has been found extremely difficult to secure convictions against these most contemptible of all white slavers, for the reason that all of the existing statutes, so far as I am informed, make it necessary, at least by implication, for the prosecution to establish the fact that they derive their entire support from white slaves under their control-in other words, it devolves upon the state to demonstrate that the man on trial has no other visible means of support. As a consequence the defense set up is almost invariably calculated to prove that the man on trial is a solicitor for a tailoring establishment, a laundry or some other legitimate business enterprise.
In view of this fact, it seems to me an enactment drawn upon the following lines would be effective:
"Any person who shall knowingly accept or receive in whole or in part support or maintenance from the proceeds or earnings of any woman engaged in prostitution shall be deemed guilty of a felony and conviction thereof shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) years and fined not exceeding one thousand dollars, or both, in the discretion of the court."
Not long since I was asked how many persons I supposed Chicago contained who would come under a statute of this kind and who ought to receive sentence under it. My reply was this:
"Probably there are twenty thousand women in Chicago today following the so-called profession of prostitution, and it would seem to me, from the testimony obtained in the course of the recent white slave prosecutions here that at least one-fourth that number or five thousand, are supported in whole or in part in this manner and would therefore come within the meaning of such a statute.”
"What is the quickest and most practical way by which I may get action on the legislature of my own state?”
I would suggest the following methods: Find the names of the men who represent your district in the general assembly of your state and write to each one of them a letter substantially as follows: "Hon....
“Dear Sir:-I am in hearty sympathy with the legislation against the white slave traffic and urge you to secure the passage of laws which shall embody the clauses and enactments suggested in the enclosed article.
"You surely will not question the worthiness or the need of laws of this kind and I ask the further favor of a reply from you indicating your attitude with regard to this most important matter.
"Yours sincerely, Also I would suggest that readers who are members of churches or habitual attendants upon church services, take this matter up with the pastors of their churches, each requesting his or her pastor to confer with the other pastors of his community to the end of preparing a petition to be sent to the representatives from that district in the legislature, urging the passage of the enactments above suggested. If these petitions are vigorously circulated they will receive the signatures of practically the entire citizenship of every community and will have a powerful, not to say compelling, influence upon the representatives and state senators who receive them. Vi omen's clubs, law and order leagues, Christian Endeavor Societies, Epworth Leagues, granges and farmers' institutes, Young Men's Christian Associations, Young Women's Christian Associations and Women's Temperance Unions
in every city, village and hamlet of the country can also exert a powerful and practical influence in securing such legislation as a protection against the ravages of the white slavers by passing suitable resolutions of endorsement and sending those resolutions to the men representing their several communities in the great assembly of their state, While, as I say, these memorials on the part of respected organizations will do a useful work in shaping the course of legislation, this will not take the place or do the work of the individual personal letter, and every reader who is sincerely and earnestly interested in securing such legislation as I have outlined will miss the main stroke of influence if he or she fails to write a personal letter to the men representing his or her district in the general assembly of the state.
And whenever such a letter is written the various clauses given in this article should be incorporated.
I cannot close this article without recurring to the statement made at the outset to the effect that many persons still remain unconvinced that the white slave traffic is a thing of widespread and actual existence; that it is the established calling of hundreds of men to lure and kidnap innocent girls into a life of shame and to sell them into houses of prostitution, where they are kept against their will in the most revolting of all human slaveries.
In my desk at this moment is a letter from which the following is taken:
"There are in that house, No. two girls by the names of Annie and Edith. One has been there for two years and is not allowed to go out of the house is not even allowed to write to her own people, and whose mail is opened and read before she is allowed to look at it. The other girl has been there seven months and has never been out of the house."
This letter was written by one who knew the facts in the case.
A very few days ago this pitiful case was, in an official way, brought to my attention. A little German girl in Buffalo married a man who deserted her about the time her child was born. Her baby is now about eight or nine months old. Almost immediately after her husband ran away she formed the acquaintance of an engaging young man who claimed to take deep interest in her welfare, and in that of a certain girl friend of hers. He persuaded them both that if they would accompany him to Chicago he would immediately place them in employment which would be far more profitable than anything they could obtain in Buffalo. Supposing that the work awaiting her was entirely legitimate and respectable the little mother took her baby and, in company with the young man and with her friend, came to Chicago. The next task of this human fiend was to petsuade this "child widow" that it would be necessary for her to place her baby temporarily in a foundlings' home in order that it might not interfere with her employment. This accomplished, he took the two young women at once to a notorious house and sold them into white slavery. Thenceforth this fellow has lived in luxury upon the shameful earnings of these two victims. The young mother has attempted by every means imaginable to escape from his clutches and at last has importuned him into a promise to release his hold upon her on the payment of $300. She is still "working out” the price of her release.
It is scarcely too much to say that she looks twice her age.
Do you realize the full importance of the word dependent? Or, do you simply know the word as a legal term that defines a certain condition, such as neglect upon the part of parents, thus leaving a child dependent, and classifying him under that caption? Do you ever wonder why a child should be dependent? You probably think that it is through the fault of the parent or guardian, and in many instances you think aright, but not in all. Sometimes, when it comes to the point of placing the blame, of finding the faults, as to just why a child should be dependent, do you know that you are the one to blame?
In the above illustration we are citing but one of the many cases that come up daily in the Chicago Juvenile Court. In itself it is not an exceptional case; in fact, there are thousands worse, but it will serve the purpose. The picture shows a little child living in all the filth and squalor of the average city tenement attic. In this instance the father was dead, and the mother labored downtown all day, leaving the child to pass the day as best it could under the circumstances. The question is, was it the child's fault that it was living, or rather existing, in this condition? No, it was not. Was it the fault of the mother that she was poor, and dying from consumption by degrees, while she had to go out and labor for herself and child to keep body and soul together? Was she committing a crime, or at fault, or was she doing the best that she could under the circumstances? Whose fault was it,
then? It was your fault! Not you personally, but all of us. Such conditions should not be allowed to exist. Your community and every community should have organized charity -dependable organizations that would be able to cope with cases such as this one and correct matters. You should have visitation agents that would look up such cases, and it is your duty to report any case that could be assisted in any way that happened to come to your attention. As a member of your community you should donate freely within your means so that such a charity organization could conduct its aims in a proper manner, not slighting any one particular case for lack of funds. And do what you can personally to help your fellowman in case he is unfortunate or destitute.
The case that we have above illustrated came under the notice of charity visitors, and steps were immediately taken to improve conditions. The mother was found to be too ill to work, and was sent to a local tubercular institute for treatment. She arrived too late for proper treatment, however, and died. The little child was placed in the guardianship of the juvenile court, and sent to a home where it can have a chance in life to be a man, and obtain something beside sorrow from this old world of ours. But it might have happened different, if our organizations were not overworked, and were able to take care of all cases. They must enlarge, and if they are supported by voluntary cash contributions, you should do your share to help them enlarge. It is your duty to your fellow man.
The Law and the Child
By JUDGE BEN B. LINDSEY,
Denver, Colorado, Juvenile Court The greatest problem which the people of today have be- and their problems, they must all be treated with imparfore them is that of the child. The proper care and edu- tiality. cation of the growing youth and the fitting of him for good An incident of what it would mean to the nation if the citizenship is a vital question which must be solved by the youth of the country were taken better care of is shown men and women of the nation. In my long years on the in the inventiveness displayed by a boy in the Denver slums bench of the juvenile court of Denver, many problems have who constructed a splendid substitute for an incline railcome before me regarding the little boys of a city. Early way from a few boards, with a soap box on wheels for a in my career as judge I was confronted one morning by To be sure, the materials were stolen but the boy had three boys under twelve years of age charged with burglary. no other way to get them. If means were provided by the These little children, for such they were, stood accused of rob- state for the exercise of such ability among our youths, bing a box-car. I approached one who seemed to be the leader crimes would decrease and such talent properly guided might of the gang and asked him if he had been in the box-car. develop into something of worth in the mechanical world. “Never saw a box-car, judge." This answer was a starter, This boy had genius but no way to develop it, so in time but by questioning the boy and gaining his confidence he became a criminal. The great amounts spent annually to finally handed me this stunner. “Say, judge, did you ever punish children would do much greater good if used for steal a watermelon?” The case assumed a different aspect their mental and physical development. now, the boys were not criminals but just mischievous lads The old plan has always been to protect the property who needed some one to start them in the right path. An and not the boy. When a lad was brought to court accused investigation of their homes showed that the moral and of stealing "gunny sacks," the object of his arrest was to mental side of the child was receiving development what- recover the sacks, no matter what became of the boy. The
ever. In two cases the mothers were widows who were sup- welfare of this lad is worth more than all the sacks ever porting families by their labors and even if they were cap- made and the greatest wrong ever perpetrated on youth able of training these children properly, would have no was throwing this boy into prison with old and hardened time.
criminals. His association and detention with men old in The children feel that the policeman on the beat is their
crime only served to make him worse and lead him to a natural enemy; they feel that the law is against them and
life of crime. The new scheme for handling erring youth their only fear of crime is that they will be caught. All
aims to save the boys even if the sacks are lost. this is wrong. The laws are wrong which instill no better The law which holds a child responsible for crime after sense of loyalty than fear of punishment into the minds of
the age of seven years is inconsistent with the one which our boys. The past ten years of my life have been de- deprives him of any right in property before he is twentyvoted to an endeavor to teach the boys who come into my
The farcical side of this legislation is revealed when court that the thing to fear is wrong doing and not the
one considers that the little boy of seven is entrusted with possibility of being caught. That I have had some measure
his morals and is subject to law for proper conduct, yet of success has been demonstrated by the fact that the is not trusted with one dollar of inheritance. This plan boys invariably tell me the truth. They know I am their makes money seem more valuable than humanity. friend and will give them a square deal. An interest in The laws of Colorado have been changed somewhat after something useful must be aroused in the boy, when he gets a long fight and a work is on foot now to save the child. really interested, and he is bound to be interested in some- He is not charged with crimes, but is brought into the juventhing all the time; if the object is a worthy one he gains ile court and his case investigated and some means is deinfinitely in the direction of good. Take away fear from vised for his reformation. the child and a love of truth and honesty is developed and The public play grounds is a great movement for the good the boy gives you his confidence. Children will more readily of our young children. They are active and when this actobey through self respect and love than through fear. ivity is guided into proper channels the results are for great
Boys have a keen sense of justice and in handling them er good to all."