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Newspaper Page Text
STORIES OF GIRLS FINED IN MOJ ALS COURT ANSWER QUESTION,
"WHAT GOOD DC ES FINING DO?"
By Jane Whitaker.
It isn't at all hard to reason from
facts that the fining of women who
live by the sale of their bodies not
only falls short of being a corrective
measure, but actually forces a con
tinuance of the barter to pay the
fine. But the reasoning of a person
who is on the outside never carries
quite the weight of the bare state
ment from one who knows, and
therefore I talked to some of the girls
fined yesterday in the Morals Court.
The first one was very pretty and
young, and, I am so glad to say, hope
ful. "Of course it means you got to
go out and earn the money again,"
she said, quietly. "Sometimes I have
it and sometimes I borrow it from
a gentleman friend. I think some day
it's going to come out all right I
hope it is."
"How many times have you been
fined?" I asked her.
"Quite a few times, but when it
was in raids the landlady paid the
fine. I'm working for myself now
and I'm going to keep on alone as
long as I'm doing it
"It's easy for a girl to get into this
life. There's some fellow she cares
about and he gets the best of her and'
then he throws her over. Only one
in a thousand ever makes it right by
marrying the girl.
"And then she gets another fellow
and if she lives in a small town they
talk about her even if she's all right
"And if you haven't an education
you cannot earn enough money to
live on. I didn't have much educa
tion. I worked at housework. You
know what that is?
"And then a girl figures she's gone
wrong anyway, so she might as well
get something out of it, so she starts
"Do you think fining does any
good?" I asked her, after a little
"How can it do any good.? The
girl has to live and once she's start
ed, she can't get back. Therejs.no
other way she can earn her living.
She's got to keep on and if she's
fined often then she has got to make
it up In the same way."
It was such a simple story and it
told everything so clearly that per
haps I should not have talked to the
second girl if she had not half-smiled
at" me in the courtroom and later as
we stood beside the elevator she
turned and frankly smiled. So I told
her what I wanted to know.
"I didn't think you were that kind,"
she answered. Then she flared: "I'm
sick of women asking me my busi
ness. I live my life as I please and
it's my life."
There was something about her
that I liked, perhaps her very defiance
because I knew I should have felt
the same way, so I apologized and
turned away. But she relented.
"If you'll come down on the next
floor where the rubber necks can't
see us, I'll talk to you," she said, and
we both laughed.
I waited for her to answer without
repeating the question.
"It's Hell," she said. "If you want
to put anything away so you can
start straight, what chance have you
got? You never know when you'll
get caught and then you're soaked
for all you thought you might save
if you could. Every time it gets
higher. Some day well be out hust
ling to pay the court and we won't
have time to figure on living."
"And it doesn't in any way stop
soliciting, does it?" I asked timidly.
"How could it stop it? What are
we going to do? Oh, don't say we
can get honest work. A woman gave
me a job out of the kindness of her
heart once, but she wouldn't trust her
husband with me and because he was
decent to me, she fired me. What
chance have we got?"
I could not answer so I remained.