New York Times
‘WHITE SLAVE’ TRADE IS NOT
So Says the Rockefeller Grand Jury’s Presentment, at last filed with the Court.
THE EVILS THAT DO EXIST
Male Associates of the Women the Chief — Closer Supervision of the picture Shows
and Massage "Parlors" Advised.
Judge O’Sullivan filed with the clerk of General Sessions yesterday morning the "White Slave" presentment he had had under consideration since Thursday, and at noon formally discharged the Rockefeller Grand Jury from the investigation which he initiated by his charge of Jan. 3. The presentment as filed is word for word as it was prepared. The close of the proceedings was accompanied by pleasant remarks all around, and news of the general felicity was promptly telegraphed to District Attorney Whitman, who is attending the twentieth reunion of his class at Amherst.
The answer of the Grand Jury to the many question of the investigation is framed in these words:
"We have found no evidence of the existence in the County of New York of any organization or organization, incorporated or other otherwise, engaged as such in the traffic in women for immoral purposes, nor have we found evidence of an organized traffic in women for immoral purpose."
It was upon this point that Judge O’Sullivan enlarged when he made the remarks which marked the ending of the protracted inquire. He made quite clear the part played in the work by George Kibbe Turner, the author of the article in McClure’s Magazine, which had started all the trouble.
"You had before you the author of the most scandalous attack upon this city," said the court. "He admitted under oath that his article was overstated and deceiving. He was compelled under oath to admit that he had no evidence (not even hearsay) to support his statements. He was examined by the District Attorney in person, and the people of this city ought to know that the District Attorney, while actuated by a desire to place before you all the legal evidence available in connection with your investigation, did not hesitate to compel those who had slander the City of New York to retract the slanders, and did not hesitate to uncover the motives which inspired the attacks. Your answer to the main question is a merited rebuke to the slanderers of the cleanest great city of the world."
Inquiry Commission Advised
The presentment reviews the sources from which the Grand Jury drew its information, and after discussing certain vicious phases of life in th city, closes with these recommendations:
1. That no effort be spared in bringing to justice the male parasites of immoral women. When the character and prevalence of these creatures are more fully realized and public sentiment aroused regarding them, the inadequate punishment now imposed should be increased and every legitimate means devised and put into execution to exterminate them.
2. That the existing laws be more rigidly enforced to safeguard the patrons of the moving picture shows, and that parents and guardians exercise more careful supervision over their children in connection with their attendance upon these shows.
3. That vigorous efforts be made to minimize the possibility of the Raines law hotel becoming a disorderly house, and that where necessary, proper supervision and inspection looking toward that end be provided.
4. That the so-called massage and manicure parlors be put under the control of the Health Department; that a license from this department be required for their operation; that certificates be granted to operators only by some approved medical authority, and that proper measures be taken to enforce these laws.
5. That the laws relating to immorality in apartment and tenement houses be rigidly enforced, and that the present laws be supplemented if necessary.
6. That a commission be appointed by the Mayor to make a careful study of the laws relating to and the methods of dealing with the social evil in the leading cities of this country and of Europe, with a view to devising the most effective means of minimizing the evil in this city.
Following the statement that the investigation had unearthed no organized traffic in women, the presentment proceeds to place on the records of the court a synopsis of what the investigators did find in looking for that organized traffic. The answer to the main question was made only after hearing many witnesses and making a final appeal, through the newspapers, to the public for any information on the subject. It is known that the wording of the document is due more than any other one man to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., foreman of the Grand Jury. A reporter asked him after it was all over yesterday, whether he had any statement to make.
"I have said all I can in the presentment," he said, "and I do not mind telling you that that was no easy task, that it meant days and days of hearing testimony and nights and nights of hard thinking."
Here is the main part of the presentment:
"We have found no evidence of the existence in the County of New York of any organization or organizations, incorporated or otherwise, engaged as such in the traffic in women for immoral purposes, nor have we found evidence of an organized traffic in women for immoral purposes.
"It appears, on the other hand, from indictments found by us and from the testimony of witnesses that a traffficking in women does exist and it is carried on by individual acting for their own benefit, and that these persons are known to each other and are more or less informally associated.
"We have also found that associations and clubs, composed mainly or wholly of those profiting from vice, have existed and that one such organization still exists. These associations and clubs are analogous to commercial bodies in other field, which while not directly engaged in commerce are composed of individuals all of whom as individuals are so engaged.
"The ‘incorporated syndicates’ and ‘international bands’ referred to in published statements we find to be such informal relations as have just been spoken of, while the ‘international headquarters,’ ‘clearing houses,’ and pretentious ‘clubhouses’ mentioned are cafés or other so-called ‘hangouts,’ where people interested in the various branches of the business report. These and the houses are also referred to as ‘markets.’ The ‘dealers’ and ‘operators’ are the male companions of the women and the ‘procurers,’ the former being referred to as the ‘retailer,’ and the mangers of the houses as the ‘wholesaler.’
Association of Evil Livers
"The only association composed mainly or wholly of those profiting from vice, of the present existence of which we have evidence, is the New York Independent Benevolent Association, organized in the city in 1894 and Incorporated in 1896. This association has had an average membership of about 100. Its alleged purpose is to assist its members in case of illness, to give aid in case of death, and to assure proper burial rites."
"After an exhaustive investigation into the activities of this association and of its members, we find no evidence that the association, as such, does now or has ever trafficked in women, but that such traffic is being or has been carried on by various members of this association as individuals. We find that the members of this association are scattered in many cities throughout the United States. From the testimony adduced, it appears probable that the social relations of the members and the opportunity thereby afforded of communicating with one another in various cities have facilitated the conduct of their individual business.
"On one occasion where a member was convicted of maintaining a disorderly resort and a fine of $1,000 was imposed upon him in the City of Newark, N. J., the association voted $500 for his aid. On another occasion in the City of Newark, N. H., where several of the members of the association were arrested on the charge of keeping and maintaining disorderly resorts and one member was in prison, the then President went to Newark, declared himself to the Under Sherif that he was President of the New York Independent Benevolent Association, and entered into negotiations with the authorities in Newark on behalf of the members who had been arrested. We have, however, no evidence of any such instance in the County of New York.
"It appears from the testimony of various members and ex-members of the association that it membership is almost entirely composed of persons who are now or have been engaged in the operation of disorderly places and who are living or who have lived, directly or indirectly, upon the proceeds of women. None of these witnesses, in answer to specific questions, could name more than one or two present or past members whose record did not show them to have so lived at some time in one form or another. They claim, however, that all members who have been convicted of a crime are expelled from the organization when the proof of the fact has been submitted, the offense apparently being not the commission of the crime, but conviction. It would appear that this procedure is for the purpose of protecting the individual, if possible, and failing in that, of freeing the association from criticism.
"Sales" of Women.
"Finding no evidence of an organized traffic in women, but a traffic carried on by individuals, we have made special and careful investigation along this line. Owing to the publicity given the inquiry at its inception, it has been difficult to get legal evidence of the actual purchase and sale of women for immoral purposes, and our investigators have been informed in different quarters that a number of formerly active dealers in women had either temporarily gone out of business or had transferred their activities to other cities. However, five self-declared dealers in women had agreed upon various occasions to supply women to our agents, but because of their extreme caution and the fear aroused by the continuing sitting of this Grand Jury, those promises were fulfilled only in two instances, in each of which two girls were secured for our agents at a price — in one case of $60 each and in the other of $75 each. Indictments have been found against these two persons; one pleaded guilty and the other was convicted on trial.
"All of these parties boasted to our investigators of their extensive local and inter-State operations in the past. They specifically mentioned the cities to which they had forwarded women, had described the operations as having at the time been entirely free from danger of detection. Our investigators also testified to the methods and means used by these people in replenishing the supply of women and in entrapping innocent girls.
Danger in Moving Picture Shows
"In this connection mention should be made of the moving picture shows as furnishing an opportunity for leading girls into an immoral life. These shows naturally attract large numbers of children, and while the law provides that no child under the age of sixteen shall be allowed to attend them unaccompanied by parent or guardian, it is a fact, as shown by the number of arrests and convictions subsequently secured, that the law is frequently violated. Evidence upon which indictments have been found and convictions subsequently secured has been given which shows that in spite of the activities of the authorities in watching these places many girls own their ruin to frequenting them.
"It is not the purpose of this reference to bring an indictment against the moving picture show, which, under proper restrictions may be an important and valuable educational and recreative factor, but rather to point out possible dangers inherent in performances carried on in the darkness, and the importance of observance of safeguards by parents or guardian, and of the strict enforcement of the law for the protection of children.
Other Evil Influences
"The abuse which has grown up in the conversion of the so-called massage and maicure parlor into a disorderly resort, frequently of the most perverted kind, has received our careful study under this same heading. A special investigation has been made of some 125 massage and manicure parlors in this county. Less than half of these establishments were found to be equipped for legitimate purposes, most of them being nothing but disorderly. The operators in such places had no knowledge of massage treatment, and in certain cases where certificates of alleged massage institutes were on the walls of the premises they frankly admitted that they had no training in massage, and did not even know the persons whose signatures appeared on the certificates.
"In view of the above it would seem important that these parlors should be licensed by the Health Department of the city, and that all operators in them should also have a license from some approved health or medical authority, and, further, that proper supervision should be exercised to insure their operation for the legitimate purposes for which they are licensed.
"The spreading of immorality in its various forms into apartment and tenement houses presents a very grave danger to the home. It is inevitable that children who have daily evidence of the apparent comfort, ease and oftentimes luxury in women of this class live should not only become hardened to the evil, but be easily drawn into the life. The existing laws for the suppression of this vice in apartment and tenement houses should be most rigorously enforcetd and, if necessary, additional legislation enacted."
Last Work of the Grand Jury.
The Grand Jury held its final meting in Mr. Whitman’s office yesterday morning, in compliance with the order given by. Judge O’Sullivan on Thursday, that the investigation be continued along the line suggested by certain parts of the testimony at that time before the court. It was in the matter of massage and manicure parlors.
Assistant District Attorney Press examined four witnesses called before the Grand Jury, but the nature of the testimony was not such as to call for indictments or to alter the opinions already filed with the court. One of the witnesses was William C. Jones, connected with a weekly publication called The Transcript, in whose advertising columns, it is understood, space has been given from time to time to the type of place the Grand Jury was desirous of inspecting. The other witnesses were women.
The Grand Jury went before Judge O’Sullivan shortly before 1 o’clock, and in reference to the matter it had just considered Mr. Rockefeller had this to say:
"It is the judgment of the Grand Jury and of the District Attorney’s office that a further inquiry at the present time along these lines would not lead to further indictments, and that pursuing them the Grand Jury could not secure further information of value."
Then Judge O’Sullivan reviewed the whole matter.
"Some months since," he said, "there were published many statements concerning the so-called ‘white slave’ traffic in the City of New York. These statements were the culmination of prior publications of similar import. They purported to set forth circumstantially and in detail that in the City of New York such a traffic existed; and that by reason of political protection afforded to the traffickers, the traffic had assumed world-wide proportions. I was said that the City of New York had become a centre of an organization which supplied women to every continent on the globe. It was said that this organized traffic in women had attained such proportions that women by the thousands were being made victims of the trade, and that the civic life of the city had become poisoned through those who controlled the traffic.
"Not only my duty as a Judge of this court, but my duty a citizen of this city impelled me to direct the attention of the Grand Jury to these statements. It seemed to me essential that an immediate investigation should be made to determine whether such an organized traffic in women existed in this city, and whether the city was in fact the center of the ‘white slave’ trade.
"You gentlemen were selected for the purpose of making this investigation. Your standing in the community and your known probity made it certain that the careful and impartial inquiry desired by me would be carried on to the end unswerved by any political or personal considerations.
"Your report is that no organized traffic in women exists in this city. The painstaking discussion in your report concerning vicious conditions which exist in this city in common with all large cities of the world, is further evidence of the extent to which you carried your investigation. The fact that, as shown by your report, you were able to uncover only isolated instances of vice, such as we all know existed, demonstrates to my satisfaction that your conclusion is correct and that New York City does not harbor an organized traffic in women’s bodies.
"It is too much to hope that the social evil can be eradicated by law. So long as it exists corrupt men will continue to profit by the practice. The most that can be hoped is that your investigation and the recommendations which you make will aid in checking the evil and in suppressing the manifestations of it."
Apology to Reynolds
Judge O’Sullivan then made a handsome apology to Assistant District Attorney Reynolds, whom he so sharply criticized on Thursday when the Grand Jury handed up its presentment. At that time he seemed to consider Mr. Reynolds a hothead, "whose exaggerated and imprudent statements should not be reflected in the findings" of the Grand Jury. At Mr. Reynolds’s door he laid the entire sensation attendant upon the arrest, nearly tow months ago, of Belle Moore and Harry Levinson.
"If, during this investigation," said the Judge yesterday, "the court exhibited any degree of exaction with regard to your proceedings it was simply from a conviction of duty toward you as an appendage of the court. That the effect of your investigation might in no wise be impaired my vigilance led me to a mistaken criticism of a gentleman appointed by the District Attorney to attend your investigation. One way to repair a mistake is to acknowledge it, and that acknowledgment I cheerfully make to Mr. Reynolds. Information has been conveyed to me from which I am convinced that instead of criticism, he is entitled to much credit for his services to the Grand Jury.