White Slavery

On July 6, 1885, Britain’s Pall Mall Gazette ran the first installment of a series titled “The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon,” detailing the alleged abduction and sale of young Englishwomen as sexual slaves in the Middle East. The series sparked outrage throughout Europe and the United States, while popularizing white slavery as a synonym for compulsory prostitution. By the early 1900s the term was used without regard for a victim’s race, although visions of white virgins subjected to rape by nonwhites touched the rawest possible nerve in a racist society. On June 25, 1910, Congress passed the White Slave Traffic Act, better known as the Mann Act (after its primary sponsor, Illinois representative James Mann). The statute imposed a maximum 10-year prison sentence and/or fines for anyone convicted of transporting females across state lines “for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral purpose.”

The latter phrase granted FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION agents free rein to investigate the sex lives of various public and private figures with no link to any prostitution syndicate, including black boxer Jack Johnson, KU KLUX KLAN leader Edward Clarke, and musician Chuck Berry. Ironically, the statute was rarely (if ever) used against pimps or others who maintained stables of prostitutes (sometimes enforcing discipline by force or by dosing their “stable” with HEROIN). State laws were used to prosecute MAFIA leader CHARLES “LUCKY” LUCIANO for compulsory prostitution in 1936, and he spent 10 years in New York prisons before he was liberated in the wake of OPERATION UNDERWORLD.

Despite the best efforts of J. EDGAR HOOVER and various local police chiefs, white slavery was not eradicated in America, and in fact it remains a global problem to the present day. During World War II Japanese forces kidnapped and enslaved an estimated 200,000 “comfort women” throughout the Far East, most of them dragooned at gunpoint from occupied CHINA, KOREA, and the PHILIPPINES. A half-century later, “ethnic cleansing” in BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA included the kidnapping of at least 30,000 women and girls, who were confined in officially sanctioned “rape camps” by Serbian soldiers. Other victims from the fractured former state of Yugoslavia were shipped abroad as prostitutes—more than 1,400 sent to England in 1998 alone, according to the British Home Office. In 1997 Russian authorities estimated that 10,000 females from the former Soviet Union had been enslaved since 1991 by members of the RUSSIAN MAFIA posing as legitimate entrepreneurs.

In the United States, meanwhile, members of various MOTORCYCLE GANGS are known to kidnap young women or “turn out” their own “old ladies” for service in strip clubs, massage parlors, and brothels. In 1978 the Texas House Select Committee on Child Pornography investigated reports of “slave auctions” conducted in Dallas, Houston, and elsewhere across the state, where children transported from Mexico were allegedly sold to wealthy pedophiles. At about the same time author Robin Lloyd informed the U.S. House Select Committee on Education and Labor of a reverse traffic in Anglo children sold to Mexican pornographers, sometimes for use in SNUFF FILMS. As recently as January 2003, police in Detroit broke up a ring that kidnapped victims as young as 13 years of age and forced them into prostitution.