OCR Interpretation

The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 02, 1915, LAST EDITION, Image 11

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1915-01-02/ed-1/seq-11/

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By Jane Whitaker
Is there any solution to the prob
lem of prostitution? In San Fran
cisco they have recently put into
practice the abatement law, driving
the girls from houses onto the street,
and from San Francisco has come a
cry of the brutal unfairness of this
In other cities reformers have
driven girls from the city or put them
in jail, and from larger cities nearby
has come the cry that these women
of the underworld have merely mi
grated. In Chicago the segregated district
has been closed and from the resi
dential district has come the cry that
women of the underworld have in
vaded these districts and that, in
stead of segregated vice we now have
scattered vice.
There has been a protest against
the fining of women of the under
world, which merely places a tax on
vice, and a shelter home has been
proposed, where these girls may be
sentenced to stay for a year, and the
cry has come that this is equivalent
to prison sentence.
Is there a solution? I have asked
that question of prominent social
workers, women and men who have
studied the question, and I am going
to give you each day the opinion of
each social worker and let you de
cide whether they have offered any
solution and whether .their solution
is in any way a satisfactory one.
The first social worker I inter
viewed was Miss Jane Addams of Hull
House. In answer to my inquiry she
"Certainly a segregated district is
not a solution. It really connives at
the whole situation and almost al
ways ends in an understanding with
the police. It almost makes neces
sary police corruption.
"The closing of the segregated
district may have resulted in scatter
ing the evil, but at least that isa
protection to our young me.n. be
cause they do not know just where
to go and the segregated district
symbolizes vice, visualizes it
"Nor can the fining system be ap
proved. Girls are brought into court
and fined and allowed to go free and
earn the fine, which means they are
convicted of an offense and allowed
to go and commit the same offense
again. That is too absurd.
"All efforts at abatement or clos
ing are more or less awkward and
unsatisfactory, but they are an effort
on the part of the citizens to get rid
of this obnoxious situation which has
become intolerable. Fining these
girls is almost municipal blackmail.
"The idea of a shelter house has
been worked out in New York city
at the Waverly house that Maude
Minor established. Girls there have
turned out quite well.
"Of course, it depends on the girl
how long she has been in the life. If
she has been very long she has got
'ten used to drugs and liquor and
leading an idle and strange existence.
But the girl who still has vigor and
a normal capacity will come out all
"One of the great troubles has been
that girls placed in shelters of this
kind have been taught domestic
work. Many girls are not fitted for
that. Trades should be taught them
that will permit them a more free
life, that will enable them to live with
friends or with their own people, and
not with a strange family as house
hold service employers.
"The shelter is not an ideal solu
tion, but it is the beginning of more
reasonable treatment of the situa
tion and certainly if the city is will
ing to fine them and take money as
it does it should surely be willing to
spend more money to see what can
be done.
"I was in Hungary two years ago
and girls there are authorized by the
city and examined and the parent
. .. , -

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