TELL ABOUT VICE; SUGGEST
Reports Made on White Slave Traffic at Meeting of Vigilance Body.
ALL CLASSES AFFECTED.
Organized Commerce in Women Said to Exist Between the Orient and America.
"An organized system of commerce in human flesh exists today between China and Japan and our coast states," said James Bronson Reynolds, the principal speaker at the annual meeting yesterday of the Illinois Vigilance association.
"After payment of money for this human property," he continued, "title is passed just as for real estate and the alleged property rights are respected by officials." Large capital interests, he declared, are involved.
The local situation was referred to by another speaker, Ernest A. Bell, in the following words:
"In the First ward of Chicago, said to be the richest ward in the world, are nearly two miles of indecent resorts. Since a district in this ward was thrown open to this most diabolical commerce blameless Chicago girls have been lured into apartments in Wabash avenue, under the shadow of churches of cathedral importance, and then sold into the adjacent white slave market — the illegal red light district."
All Classes Affected.
In the report of the work done by the organization to suppress the white slave traffic the following statement is made:
"Even the aristocratic parts of the city are not free from some forms of the traffic, though there it is m ore difficult to discover.
"All classes of society in our cities," the report continues, "are suffering from the moral and physical taint of vice."
To mitigate this national and international practice, educators, preachers, lawmakers, and social reformers met in the rooms of the Central Y. M. C. A.
Legislative measures and enforcement of the law were urged by Assistant State’s Attorney Clifford G. Roe. A never ceasing vigilance and active work on the part of the women of the country was the appeal made by Mrs. Charles Henrotin.
Urges Eternal Vigilance.
"The only righteous attitude of government toward all crime and vice is eternal antagonism," said Mr. Bell. "The government should educate the people concerning the frightful effects of vice and never encourage these ruinous practices. The responsibilities of government in this connection are nothing less than awful. It is like maintaining a thousand pest houses, not for purposes of quarantine, but with the sole result of advertising and spreading the pestilence."
Mr. Reynolds in suggesting methods of procedure on the part of the government said: "A formal treaty of agreement should be instituted with China and Japan under which the contracting parties should agree to use their respective police powers to detect and punish those who seek to send girls or women from one country to the other to be used for immoral purposes.
Abroad he thinks "provision should be made by law so that the protection of American citizenship, impudently flaunted in the Orient by immoral American women and other outlaws, could be withdrawn.
"American citizenship should not be a cloak for the protection and promotion of vice," he said. "I realize the danger of the possible abuse of such proscription. Proper safeguards must be maintained so that an arrogant or unprincipled consul may not abuse his power, but with proper checks protection sought in the name of American citizenship should bring good character as its credential.
Conditions in the Orient
"The most showy and most stylishly dressed of the occupants of the branded houses of Yokohama, Shanghai and other oriental cities are Americans. Some of them are conspicuous in expensive equipages on the leading thoroughfares. The term American girl in three of these cities has become synonymous with immorality.
"In the same way," this principal speaker of the morning said, "we get our impression of the Chinese in Boston, New York and San Francisco. But the Chinese in this country have no such protection from their home government as the American women have abroad. The Chinese nation is therefore entitled to hold us responsible for the conduct of Americans in China, as we cannot hold the Chinese government responsible for the conduct of its people in our country."
A further way to mitigate the evil in this country, in the opinion of Mr. Roe, is to make the marriage laws stricter.
Mrs. Henrotin’s Plea
Mrs. Henrotin’s plea in part was as follows:
"The task is so difficult and so delicate that without the aid of women the evil will never be abolished. In Iowa the women are urging the adoption of a law by the present legislature which will make the registration of diseases necessary, and this shows the activity of the women in our sister state."
"Intoxicating liquor has been sold illegally without a license in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of resorts in the city," said one of the speakers, "against the protests of the Chicago Law and Order league. Surely this will not be allowed to continue, the virtual payment of a bounty of $1,000 a year, the price of a saloon license, to the keeper of an indecent resort. Surely, the First ward debauch in the Coliseum will never be allowed again."