National Merger to Fight White Slavery
"To save the crusade against white slavery from falling into the hands of visionists and sensationalists, who have already begun to exploit the cause selfishly or along fanatical lines" is one reason given for the organization recently of the American Vigilance Association, with David Starr Jordan as president and Jane Addams as a member of the Executive Board. The new body is a merger of the National Vigilance Committee, the American Purity Alliance and various state and city committees and societies formed to fight the white slave traffic. It is seeking a charter of incorporation from the federal government and has already opened general headquarters at 105 West Monroe street, Chicago, Ill. The eastern offices and library are at 156 Fifth avenue, New York, and the legislative office is in Washington. A western office will be opened in San Francisco, Cal.
Besides those mentioned the officers are as follows :
Cardinal Gibbons and Very Rev. Dean Walter T. Sumner, vice-presidents.
Charles L. Hutchinson, treasurer.
Clifford G. Roe, executive secretary and general counsel.
Among the members of the Executive Board thus far chosen are :
Clifford W. Barnes, chairman; John G. Shedd, Julius Rosenwald, Henry P. Crowell, A. C. Bartlett and Jane Addams, of Chicago; James Bronson Reynolds and Grace H. Dodge of New York; Dr. 0. Edward Janney of Baltimore; Wallace Simmons of St. Louis; Charles Bentley of San Francisco; and Henry J. Dannenbaum of Houston, Texas.
State committees, advisory boards, and the like are still to be organized.
The new association is of course carrying on a work already well under way in many localities. Its aim is to cooperate with all similar organizations doing practical work along the same line. Besides endeavoring to prevent overlapping and misdirection of effort it will act as a sort of clearing house for societies and committees directing their energies against the traffic in girls and women. The plan of operation shows She following departments:
Organization and Promotion.
Legislation and Law Enforcement.
Library and Editorial.
Rescue and Protection.
As the new organization is an amalgamation, there is already in active service a trained staff of lawyers, investigators and educators. Clifford G. Roe, who as an assistant states attorney began the prosecution of procurers of girls in Illinois in 1906, will have general charge of all departments. Mr. Roe describes himself as one who "believes in (baling in facts and not theories." When report had it that he was on a lecture tour during the past year, he was in fact making a secret study of white slave conditions in- America and gathering practical evidence for the campaign he is now to lead.
George J. Kneeland is engaged as the director of investigation. He served in a similar capacity for the Research Committee of the Committee of Fourteen in New York, and for the Vice Commission of Chicago. Under his direction, the work of aiding vice commissions, committees, and organizations in various cities will be conducted.
SCOPE OF OPERATION
In outlining the scope and opportunity of the new association Mr. Roe said :
As soon as a town or city desires to join the campaign against commercialized vice, the American Vigilance Association will be prepared to assist it. The association recommends first, a careful survey and study of vice conditions similar to that made by the Vice Commission of Chicago; then, based upon a convincing and reliable report, a campaign to arouse the public conscience to its moral and civic duty; third, the securing of convictions, with the aid of public opinion and by lawyers
skilled in conducting this particular class of prosecutions; and lastly, so far as is practicable, an educational campaign for the betterment of public and private morals.
A field investigation showing present conditions should reveal, among other things, the location and extent of this evil within the limits of the city. It will point out the number and character of resorts where immoral and dissolute persons congregate; the number of professional women, both madames and inmates; the method of conducting the business of public prostitution; the connection of the liquor traffic with vice; the profits from the illegal use of property; the sale of liquor and the exploitation of women; the white slave traffic; and the relation of the police and politicians to these resorts. Such an investigation should also include a comprehensive study of the evil from the standpoint of the inmates in the parlor houses, the women connected with assignation places, the saloons and other vicious resorts, and those soliciting for immoral purposes on the streets. This study will suggest at just what points the evil may be most effectively attacked.
The data from this study should be compiled in detail and be the basis of an analysis of the lives of these unfortunate women. This analysis should sum up conditions surrounding their early life, such as education, occupation, wages, reasons for entering an immoral life for money. It should also show the present conditions of these women in professional life, such as services required, profits to them, venereal disease, medical inspection, use of drugs, their connection with cadets, etc.
The American Vigilance Association desires to interest a larger number of substantial and influential people in its cause and to correlate, so far as possible, the work of philanthropists, educators and reformers. It will do this through its department of organization and promotion. Whenever expedient, a group of interested and leading citizens will be organized into an affiliated committee. In time, it is planned to have city, state and foreign powers so effectually aroused to the situation, and co-operating so heartily, that the white slaver will be completely exterminated.
THE WORK OF THE LIBRARY
Sanity is necessary in most things, but in work for the suppression of traffic in women, a peculiar balance of mind is needed. Accuracy of statement is necessary as a basis for the study of causes, methods of prevention, and law enforcement. It is for a truthful, unexaggerated presentation of conditions, and a normal attitude toward the problem as a whole, that the Library Department is working. Says Mr. Roe :
The first work of this department under the direction of Marion E. Dodd, will be the collection of all available material in the form of books, pamphlets, periodicals, reports, papers, and clippings on prostitution, white slave traffic, segregation, state regulation, and education with reference to sex. In our study of the traffic in women, it has been made -fectlyctly clear that no one cause is responsible for this degradation of thousands of women, and a still greater number of men. It has been learned among other things that recreation, economics, housing, immigration, the liquor question, the courts, the police, marriage and divorce, illegitimacy and disease are vitally connected with the white slave traffic, and that, in order to make the reference material adequate to meet the needs of social workers and others who are pursuing serious study in this direction, the library must cover a wide field.
One of the chief means of prevention of the white slave traffic lies in education with reference to sex. A special effort will be made to have on our shelves books that will cover the rapidly increasing demand for good material along these lines. Biology, the science of life and eugenics, the science dealing with all the influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race, will therefore have a large space reserved for them, in so far as they are related to sex hygiene. This will enable teachers to follow a complete course of work here. It will be the business of the library to sift and prepare lists of books and to loan to responsible persons, books and pamphlets of which there are duplicates.
Acting as a bureau of information, this association will, at any time, look up various points at issue, and verify statements in regard to laws and ordinances. Thus, through its various departments, the association will centralize and systematize the efforts now being directed against the traffic in girls. By its active Participation in the campaign, it will also enlighten the public as to actual conditions, aid the police in their work, prepare cases for trial, and assist when possible the municipal, state, and federal authorities and courts in the apprehension and prosecution of offenders.