Trafficking in Women

Matilda Joslyn Gage on Human Trafficking

Excerpt from Woman, Church & State

(originally published 1893)

“There is also proof of regularly organized kidnapping schemes and deportation of girls for the vilest purposes, not only abroad, but [also] to the pineries and lumber camps of Michigan and Wisconsin.  Bloodhounds kept for this purpose or hunting down the girls with shotguns prevents escape, when attempted.  In January 1887, Representative Breen appeared before the House Judiciary Committee of the Michigan legislature, confirming the charge that a regular trade in young girls existed between Milwaukee, Chicago and the mining regions of the Upper Peninsula of that state….  So little attention have legislators given, that policemen, judges and sheriffs are found aiding and abetting the proprietors of these dens.  Their emissaries find young girls between thirteen and sixteen the easiest to kidnap and when once in power of these men, their hair is cut in order that they may be known.  A regular system of transfer of the girls exists between the many hundred such dens, where clubs, whips and irons are the instruments to hold them in subjection.”  (p. 110, Modern Reader’s Edition. Read more by purchasing this book from the Gage Foundation.)

Gage’s book was banned partly because she brought to light
these horrors against young girls in her time.

The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

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