New York Times
WHITE SLAVE TRAFFIC SHOWN
TO BE REAL
Whitman Proves It Though College Women He Sent Out as Investigators.
THEY "BOUGHT" FOUR GIRLS
Two Were Children of 15 Who Played with a Doll and a Teddy Bear — Three Arrests,
and More Coming.
There is a real traffic in "white slaves" in this city, District Attorney Whitman said last night, and went on to tell how he had the proof.
People from his office, Mr. Whitman said, have gone disguised into the Tenderloin and bought young girls. They have brought him also unmistakable evidence that the trade has existed for years, with such organization as comes from a perfect understanding between those who ply it in different centers all over the country. In the notebooks of the investigators are records of their talks with men and women also who are reputed to be dealers in girls on an extensive scale of "methods" and "prices," and in some cases, Mr. Whitman says, "of the corrupt relations existing between the traders and certain police officials."
Three arrests, following swiftly one after the other yesterday, left Mr. Whitman free to lay before a group of his assistants some of the details of the investigation that has been going on silently from his office for weeks. Some of these details — the incident, for instance, of a girl, so little and so childish that she wept when they took her from one house to another because she had had to leave her Teddy bear behind, stirred even men grown callous in the atmosphere of the Criminal Court Building.
The Rockefeller Grand Jury, when it reports on Tuesday to Judge O’Sullivan in General Sessions, will have something to say about the discoveries and something to do about them.
"I owe the evidence of this traffic to my assistant, James B. Reynolds," Mr. Whitman said, "and to two women of character and experience who, under his direction, have gathered it in the heart of the Tenderloin and other section."
College Women Got Evidence
The names of the women will be withheld. It is known, however, that they are college graduates, one woman from Smith, and one from Radcliffe. Skilled in investigation work, but unknown in New York, they paved the way to yesterday’s arrests by establishing friendly and confidential relations with some of the most influential persons engaged in the traffic.
They posed as proposed purchasers of girls, saying that they intended to take them to Seattle. One of the women is some years older than the other, who passed as her assistant, taking the less active part, but always present so that later she may furnish corroborative testimony. They were well coached and suitably dressed for the part they had to play. The older woman professed to have been in business in Juneau, Alaska, and she had introductions and reference from men and women "in good standing" in the Seattle trade. She found, too, that the names she used in this character were perfectly familiar here and served as passwords.
In this way, for several weeks, the inquirers have gathered evidence at first hand.
"Past and present conditions of the traffic were frequently contrasted," said Mr. Whitman yesterday, in describing what the women had heard. "The trade during the present Winter has been exceptionally light, on account of the general alarm caused by the sitting of the ‘white slave’ Grand Jury. One large dealer declared to the agents that though two years ago he could have sold them all the girls they wanted for $5 to $10 apiece, he would not risk selling one now for $1,000."
They "Bought" Four Girls
Despite this general caution, there are now, under the protection of the District Attorney’s office, four girls whom Mr. Whitman’s investigators "bought." Their names and the prices paid for them will be kept secret until the trial of two persons, whom the detectives placed under arrest yesterday. None of the girls is more than eighteen. Two of them are Jewish and two American.
The Rockefeller Grand Jury held a conference in Mr. Whitman’s office yesterday, and shortly after noon filed into Judge O’Sullivan’s Court, where he discharged them until Tuesday, after a short talk with Mr. Whitman and Mr. Reynolds in his chambers. Then things began to happen.
Detectives Leigh, Russo, and Thomas of the District Attorney’s staff arrested Harry Levinson in his home at 16 East Third Street shortly after noon. He made a stiff fight, but within two hours he was in the Tombs, held by Magistrate Breen in $10,000 bail, though Assistant District Attorney Press asked that it be fixed at $25,000. The short affidavit relates to compelling two women to lead immoral lives. The women in the case are among the girls now under the District Attorney’s care. Mr. Reynolds says the sale took place three weeks ago.
It was known that more arrests were coming, for as the detectives left Mr. Whitman’s office he was heard to whisper, "Get them! Get them! Don’t think of expense. Get them. Take one, two, taxicabs — as many as you need, but get them!"
He feared mightily that by some underground channel the work had gone ahead and that the culprits would have fled.
But they had not. At 6 o’clock Russo and Thomas brought in one Belle Moore, a light mulatto, whom they had arrested in her house at 348 West Forty-first Street. She was held without bail and sent to the Tombs.
It was Belle Moore, Mr. Reynolds explained, who sold the other two girls. They gave their ages as 17 and 19, but even Belle Moore says they are younger. It is understood that they are only 15. And these are white girls. It was one of them who was so disconsolate over the loss of her Teddy bear. The other, whom the purchase freed from a house where she had been kept ever since last September, brought nothing with her except a tattered doll, which she still cherished. It was dearer to her than anything else in all her unlovely world.
While Mr. Reynolds was talking Leigh arrived with Aleck Alexander, a colored man, whom he arrested in the Union Café, between Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Streets, in Broadway. Leigh described how George Consdine, at the café, had demanded the reason of the arrest, saying that he wanted to furnish bail. Leigh did not tell him. The man’s arrest is in connection with the Belle Moore case. Another arrest is expected later.
Levinson has tow aliases, Shapiro and Druckman. He is only 27 years old. Mr. Whitman says he boasted to the District Attorney’s investigators of having formerly made large sales to other cities. Mr. Whitman feels that in the arrest of these two he has captured "representative" ??? in the trade from both the west and east sides.
Rockefeller Jury’s Good Work
It was on Jan. 3 that Judge O’Sullivan appointed John D. Rockefeller, Jr., foreman of the Grand Jury which he charged with an investigation of the sweeping charges made in the preceding municipal campaign that there existed in this city an organized traffic in women. The stories then current all went back to an article by George Kibbe Turner in McClure’s Magazine, and Mr. Turner was one of the first witnesses called before the Grand Jury. His evidence, however, was found to be entirely hearsay, and after a few scattering arrests outward activity ceased altogether. Mr. Whitman was represented by Charles W. Appleton, recently made a Magistrate, and James B. Reynolds, a friend of Col. Roosevelt and a tireless worker, who was specially appointed for the investigation.
A petition for $25,000 to carry on the work was granted by the Board of Estimate, Mayor Gaynor finding no little amusement in the recollection that Judge O’Sullivan had assured the Grand Jury that the "wealth of this opulent city is at your command."
The first arrests and convictions from the investigation brought into the courts a score of more of shabby, luckless young criminals, who had done nothing extraordinary, and who certainly had not prospered by whatever they had done. It was not until yesterday that the real traffic of the underworld was illumined by the preliminary glimpses Mr. Whitman allowed into the evidence which the two women had gathered for him.
In granting the funds Mayor Gaynor assured Mr. Whitman that he wanted no presentments, but indictments. It was said yesterday that he will have indictments, and that by Tuesday.
"There will be more later," said Mr. Whitman; "there will be more work and we must have more money."
At Police Headquarters last night Belle Moore said that she was a manicurist. Anderson, who said he was 31 and that he lived at 242 West Thirty-fifth Street, gave his occupation as porter.
An Arrest in Newark
In Newark last night Immigration Inspector Tedesco of this city arrested William Fuhle of 301 Washington Street. The prisoner will be deported. Fuhle arrived from Germany on Wednesday. On his heels came word that he was engaged in the "white slave" traffic. The local and New York detectives are looking for girls who were associated with him.