Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fighting the "White Slave Trade" or How Turn of the Century Folk Didn't Mind Human Trafficking As Long As the Slaves Weren't White Women

The media today loves a good story about a white woman in peril. Whether it be the kidnapping of a little white girl or the murder of a middle-class white mother, the media makes sure we know about it. It shouldn't be too surprising that turn-of-the-century books fixated on the white woman's peril as well. They too didn't care much for the plight of minorities or minority women, and in fact, by using the word "white slave trade," they explicitly exclude non-whites from their concerns. So what is "the white slave trade" discussed in "Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls or War on the White Slave Trade" (1910)? It basically refers to white women working as prostitutes, against their will or willingly. The same subject matter is featured in "The Soul Traders" (1910), also shown above. Now, the only question left is which book portrays the subject more poignantly-- the cell bars of "Fighting the Traffic" or the spider web chains shown on "The Soul Traders."

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