New York Times
MURPHY’S DEFENSE UNTRUE,
Bingham and Philbin Declare Tammany Does Foster "White Slave" Traffic.
FUTILE EFFORTS TO STOP IT.
Galvin Offer $30,000 in Rewards for Proof of the Turner Allegations.
Charles F. Murphy’s denial that Tammany and its leaders had anything to do with the revolting traffic in vice known as the "white slave trade," in which said that if such conditions as were described in the current issue of McClure’s Magazine existed here at all they existed during the administration of several Mayors, District Attorneys, and former Police Commissioners, has brought forth varying expressions from some of the former officials mentioned.
Some of the men named by Mr. Murphy, notably ex-Police Commissioner Bingham and ex-District Attorney Eugene A. Philbin, come out strong in their assertion that political influence has been largely with the so-called "white slave trade" and cadet system, which they say, has flourished her for many years, in spite of efforts now and then to put an end to the disreputable traffic.
William McAdoo, ex-Police Commissioner, is one of those, however, who says that while in office no official complaint was ever made to him that the "white slave trade" was flourishing and that Leader Murphy repeatedly offered to assist him in putting out the redlights and landing the so-called cadets in jail. Mr. McAdoo said he had read with interest what Leader Murphy had said in reply to the charges that Tammany and its men protected those who were engaged in the trade here.
"During my term as Police Commissioner no such conditions as set forth in the McClure article prevailed in the east side or any other part of New York," said Mr. McAdoo. "Not only that, but Mr. Murphy repeatedly offered me his assistance as leader of the Tammany organization in putting down the red lights, cadets and disorderly houses.
Says Murphy is Right
"He was particularly sensitive about that charge, because preceding Mr. McClellan’s term it had been prophesied all over New York that the red lights would be brought back. I consider they reply made by Mr. Murphy as entirely conclusive. Chief Inspector Schmittberger had charge of that district during my term as Police Commissioner.
"No one connected with any of the settlements, no pastor of any church, Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish, ever made any complaint to me that there was ever any such condition of affairs as outlined by Mr. Turner in his article. No newspaper, seriously, during my term charged that such a state of affairs existed. I gave unremitting personal and official attention to conditions on the east side, and if any such state of affairs as charged in the article existed I would have known it.
Gen. Bingham, who succeeded Mr. McAdoo as Police Commissioner, seems to have found quite a different condition of things. He replied yesterday to Mr. Murphy’s defense of Tammany. He said he did not read the article in McClure’s, but that he had read Mr. Murphy’s statement.
"I had been head of the police force abut two years before I realized that there was anything in the white slave question," said Gen. Bingham. "I had been inclined before that to think that all the talk about dealing in women was the idle talk of hysterical persons. That was only one phase of police work, so I delegated it to Arthur Woods, one of my deputies.
"The first difficulty we ran up against was getting policemen to do their duty in getting evidence. The police despised the cadets, but when they found that the men they were after all seemed to have strong political influences, money and friends, they became discouraged.
An Appalling Trade
"The magnitude of the traffic appalled me. At the beginning of our investigations I supposed that only the immigrant women were dealt in, and it was against the importers of such that our energies were directed for a long time. The records of the United States courts will show many convictions.
"Scores of women were deported for violation of the immigration laws. But getting evidence against the rascals who brought them here was a herculean task, for practically the only persons who could testify against them were their victims and these women seldom squeal."
Gen. Bingham said further that his investigations and those of Deputy Commissioner Woods disclosed that the headquarters of the French cadets was in a club in West Twenty-ninth Street, near Sixth Avenue, and he says the police drove it out of business. Criminal proceedings were brought against the proprietor, and although he finally got off in court, the police activity against him was sufficient to put the club out of business.
The former Commissioner said that on the east side it was fount that nearly all the cadets were affiliated with the local and dominant political organization, and that whenever one was arrested he was never at a loss for a bondsman.
"The more we dug into the thing the more we were convinced of its magnitude," said Gen. Bingham. "It appeared to extend all over the country, particularly in the large cities. The people who engage in this traffic are organized. What has been said of the existence of the white slave traffic here in the past is true — every word of it."
Ex-District Attorney Philbin said last night that his views on the cadet system were fully expressed in the statement made by him in 1901, at which time there was a popular outcry against the traffic.
Mr. Philbin’s Views
This statement was as follows:
"It might be supposed that the aid of the police could be readily enlisted, but that avenue of escape (to the unfortunate girls) is almost invariably inaccessible because the persons who engage in this nefarious trade have, as a preliminary measure and as part of their business scheme, made arrangements with the police; so that, no matter how much of a man the patrolman may be to whose notice such a case is brought, and no matter how virtuous he himself may be, he dares not interfere with the perpetration of this awful wrong, because of the fear of the severest discipline.
"I have no hesitation in saying that, if the police were free from the interference of political influence, and were allowed to do their duty, it would be very difficult for such a crime to be committed.
"I have every reason to believe that the placing of the police patrolmen in a position where they could attack this form of vice without injury to themselves would be hailed by them with the greatest gratification."
Mr. Philbin said he had seen Mr. Murphy’s statement in which the Tammany leader referred to the fact that if such conditions existed here they existed during Mr. Philbin’s tenure of office as well as during the terms of other public officials who were not generally looked upon as Tammany men. He said this statement seemed to cover the ground, and that he had nothing to add.
District Attorney Jerome and ex-Mayor Low, both of whom were mentioned by Mr. Murphy as having been in office during the time the alleged "white slave" traffic was supposed to be going on, could not be reached last night. Mr. Low was at his country place at Bedford Station, N.Y., and Mr. Jerome was not at home.
Bannard in Doubt
Otto T. Bannard, Fusion candidate for Mayor, said he read Mr. Turner’s article concerning the iniquitous traffic, but gave it only a hasty perusal.
"If the conditions set forth in it actually existed," said Mr. Bannard, "I have no knowledge of them. But there is one thing that I should like to say. I notice that the magazine writer holds the Jews chiefly responsible for the evils in this city which the article says exist. I think that must be not only in error, but a serious injustice. I have always understood that both the importers and the imported were chiefly French.
Assemblyman James Oliver of the Third District, a Tammany man, who is running for re-election, was among those who railed to the defense of Tammany yesterday. In addressing a meeting of the unemployed at 33 Bowery, Mr. Oliver said that the article in McClure’s was false from beginning to end, and that Tammany was merely being attacked by a lot of jealous politicians and their allies, who, he said were willing to pay almost anything to get Tammany at a disadvantage.
THE TRAFFIC IN CHICAGO
Edwin W. Sims, United States District Attorney in Chicago, who had conducted a vigorous campaign against the "white slave" traffic and the cadet system there, wrote yesterday to the Evening Post describing the conditions which his investigation have disclosed:
Chicago, Oct. 25.
Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your request for information relating to the white slave traffic. I am glad to comply with t he request because I am convinced that when the people of the Nation really appreciate the true villainy of the system they will not stop until it is completely ended.
The investigations and prosecutions conducted by this office during the last eighteen months have disclosed a nation and international traffic in the buying, selling, and exportation of young girls for immoral purposes.
There are few who really understand the true significance of the term ‘white slave trade.' Most of those who have given only a casual thought to the subject have the impression that women who lead immoral lives in public houses are there voluntarily. In a majority of cases such is not the fact.
To-day the inmates of houses of ill-fame are made up largely of women or girls whose original entry into a life of immorality was brought about by men who were in the business of procuring women for that purpose; men who earn their livelihood and amass a fortune by that means.
The characteristic which distinguishes the white slave traffic from immorality in general is that the women who are the victims of the traffic are unwillingly forced to live an immoral life. The term ‘white slave’ includes only those women and girls who are literally slaves, those women who are owned and held as property and chattels, whose lives are lives of involuntary servitude, those who become immoral as a result of the efforts of the procurer, and who for a considerable period at least continue immoral because of the devices and power of their owners.
In short, the white slave trade may be said to be the business of securing white women and of selling them or of exploiting them fro immoral purposes.
No Chance for Victims
Its victims are those women and girls who, if given a fair chance, would in all human probability have been good wives and mothers and useful citizens.
In practically all of the cases investigated by this office, liquor, trickery, and deceit were used by the procurer to accomplish this purpose and place the girl under his power. In some cases the procurer marries his victim, in others he gains control by promise of legitimate employment with handsome compensation.
Hundreds of men in the large cities live from the earnings of their victims, and in many instances the more extensive procurers live in affluence.
The books kept by a notorious importer who was arrested by us some months ago disclosed his earnings from the year previous to his arrest — largely from his importation and whole from his exploitation of girls — to have been more than $102,000.
It is needless to say that the operation of the white slave trader can be carried on only with the connivance or acquiescence of the police.
Obviously no woman or girl can be detained in a house of ill-fame for any length of time against her will if the police exercise proper supervision and inspection.
In most of the states house of ill-fame are outlaws. The law forbids their very existence, and they remain only on sufferance. It follows, therefore, that if permitted to exist at all, it must be permitted to exist at all, it must be upon such conditions as the police see fit to impose. The police have the power to exterminate the traffic completely.
Where the Remedy Lies
In my judgment the remedy must come largely from the local authorities. The power of the Federal Government to deal with the traffic is limited to cases involving the importation of alien girls and to the enactment of laws forbidding the transportation for unlawful purpose of women from one State to another.
"Existing Federal laws provide a penalty of five years in the penitentiary for the importation of an alien woman or girl for immoral purposes, and under the effective prosecutions conducted by the Department of Justice, the white slave traffic in aliens has been administered a fatal blow.
The local authorities, however, in the exercise of the police power of the State are all powerful in putting an end to the traffic; and a strong, honest, clean municipal administration of affairs will soon bring about this result.
In Chicago the result of co-operation between Federal authorities, acting under the immigration law and the local authorities enforcing the State law and city ordinances, has been that the slave traffic in women has been very largely stamped out. Respectfully yours.
EDWIN W. SIMS