Chicago Tribune

Tenth District Federation of Clubs Stirred by Evils of Traffic in Girls
Mrs. W. I. Thomas Urges Mothers to Give the Needed Information.

What part can the women of the city take in blotting out the white slave traffic? This question was asked seriously yesterday of Clifford G. Roe and Mrs. W. I. Thomas by north shore women who had invited them to Kenilworth to address the Federated Clubs of the Tenth district. Representatives were present from Lake Forest, Waukegan, Winnotka and other north shore suburbs.

It marked the first occasion when women of social prominence have interested themselves actively and as a body in considering this evil. Mrs. Catharine Waugh McCulloch leading the discussion, outlined the first practical measures which will go informally into force within the households of those present.

Mrs. Thomas said the danger was greatest to servant girls, and Mrs. McCulloch said that hereafter all women of the clubs would be more particular to make friends with their maids.

"They go out at evening and we ask nothing about it," said Mrs. McCulloch, "because we think it is not our business, Hereafter we will take an interest in her affairs, get her to confide in us as far as possible and will receive her men friends. We will make quarters in which she can have friends at home."

Asks Aid for Reformed Girls

As a second practical measure Mrs. McCulloch insisted that the women should never turn against a girl and dismiss her from their service if they found that she was a recovered white slave, provided she did not prove a menace from the standpoint of health. She point out how illuminating it was to Mr. Roe who knew these women by name and through personal acquaintance, speak of the subject, which to them was something little more than a name.

"We have known," said Mrs. McCulloch, "that some girl, somewhere, had been taken by some man some place, but none of the story has the vitalizing power which actual names and the mention of specific places give to it. Now that their story with all of its hideous tragedy has been presented to us with the convincingness of a first hand narration, we will always have it in our minds to do everything we can, no matter how personal or abstract, how trivial or great, to wipe the evil out.

Tells of Rescued "Slave."

Mr. Roe told of a girl who threw a key with a note tied around it down on the head of a man from the Salvation army as he passed the house where she was held. She was a victim of belief in love at first sight. A man she met accidentally in a park professed to love her and she eloped with him that week. He promised to take her to New York and buy fine clothes for her, but instead he put her in a resort in South Chicago. Her betrayer beat her for wanting to leave the place.

"And you think," emphasized Mr. Roe, "That this is something remote, that cannot ever touch you. You do not know now smooth these scoundrels are in getting acquainted with your own daughters, in entering your own home.

Mrs. McCulloch in considering this part of the narration blamed the high class literature of the day.

"I have seen six stories in the leading magazines of the month," she said, "the scheme of which was built on the fact that a young man and a young woman met, fell in love, and were married within a fortnight. When we read a story of that kind we ought to write the editors and tell them they are helping to foster the white slave trade."

Gives Hint to Mothers

Mrs. Thomas thought mothers should be more frank in talks with their daughters.

"Ignorance in regard to sex problems," she said, "is one great cause of the downfall of girls. We have been taught that human motherhood is too low a matter to be mentioned above a whisper. A girl is essentially a mother, and as soon as we can educate our girls so they will realize that motherhood is the highest realm of a girl, we have taken a great step toward solving the sex problem, for then a girl will not hold herself so cheaply.

"This problem of the saving of girls is outside of the church, although the church should do its part. It takes a woman to reach a woman and by reason of their sex every member of every woman’s club is obligated to aid the work.

Mr. Roe indorsed all that Mrs. Thomas had said.

"Laws alone can never abolish white slavery," he said. "Armies cannot do it, education will accomplish it. I ask you women to aid in protecting our girls and to aid into a better life those who have fallen."


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