The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon: The Report of the Secret Commission

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Serialized in the Pall Mall Gazette during July, 1885, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon created a sensation in Victorian London with its shocking depiction of a rampant child sex trade thriving in the nation’s capital. It related stories of girls as young as thirteen who had been inveigled into houses of ill repute by scheming abductresses, where they were pressured, manipulated, or even coerced into prostitution. There were rooms in London, the Gazette revealed, that had been specially padded to stifle their screams. In a zealous effort to demonstrate the horrifying ease with which these hapless young girls were being bought and sold by greedy flesh merchants, editor William T. Stead scandalized the public by successfully purchasing a thirteen year-old girl from her mother for the meager price of £5—a journalistic excess for which he served three months in prison.

A controversial milestone in modern journalism, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon generated sufficient public outrage to secure passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which raised the age of consent in the United Kingdom from thirteen to sixteen.

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The persistence of organized prostitution reflected one of the less savory aspects of Victorian life. In the latter part of the 19th century, public opinion became less tolerant of the crime and disorder generally associated with a flourishing and highly visible demi-monde. In particular, attention was increasingly paid to the large number of young girls drawn, one way or another, into this way of life. Largely as a result of the efforts of feminists and other social reformers, legislation, in the form of the Criminal Law Amendment Bill, was introduced in Parliament in the early 1880s with the intent of protecting young women. This was to be done through the dual means of raising the age of female consent from thirteen to sixteen and making brothels more susceptible to legal controls. For several years the Bill languished in Parliament. At a crucial moment, support for it was energized by a sensational report, serialized in the daily Pall Mall Gazette in 1885, documenting the complexity and reach of organized prostitution as an industry and its reliance on sophisticated techniques for the entrapment of young girls.The full text of this report, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, by the crusading journalist W.T. Stead, is reprinted here in its entirety for the first time since its original publication. Its content is detailed, lurid, at times ill-informed and frequently poorly-written. Nonetheless, the impact of it was tremendous and the report itself is thought to have provided the necessary impetus for the enactment of the most influential piece of legislation in British history relating to sexuality and its exploitation. It is a major primary source documenting Victorian attitudes toward female sexuality and its exploitation and is here generally accessible to the modern reader for the first time.Annotations to the original text identify people and places mentioned and other references made by Stead. An introductory essay places Stead=s work in its historical context and identifies the various efforts made to combat organized prostitution, through the courts and through the legislature, from the 1820s onward. This essay also addresses one section of the Act, the so-called Labouchère Amendment, which served to make consensual homosexual activity easier to prosecute in law, and which provided the principal legal means for harassing homosexuals for the following eighty years. Discussion is given of this Amendment as an anomaly in an Act which was otherwise quite unconcerned with this kind of activity. The editor of this volume, Antony E. Simpson, is professor emeritus at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has published extensively in the fields of 18th and 19th century English social and legal history.

About the Author:

W. T. Stead was a journalist and social reformer influential in England at the turn of the 20th century. Antony E. Simpson, editor, has published extensively in the fields of social and legal history and is professor emeritus at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Serialized in the Pall Mall Gazette during July, 1885, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon created a sensation in Victorian London with its shocking depiction of a rampant child sex trade thriving in the nation s capital. It related stories of girls as young as thirteen who had been inveigled into houses of ill repute by scheming abductresses, where they were pressured, manipulated, or even coerced into prostitution. There were rooms in London, the Gazette revealed, that had been specially padded to stifle their screams. In a zealous effort to demonstrate the horrifying ease with which these hapless young girls were being bought and sold by greedy flesh merchants, editor William T. Stead scandalized the public by successfully purchasing a thirteen year-old girl from her mother for the meager price of 5-a journalistic excess for which he served three months in prison. A controversial milestone in modern journalism, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon generated sufficient public outrage to secure passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which raised the age of consent in the United Kingdom from thirteen to sixteen. Seller Inventory # APC9781463647681

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Book Description Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, United States, 2012. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Serialized in the Pall Mall Gazette during July, 1885, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon created a sensation in Victorian London with its shocking depiction of a rampant child sex trade thriving in the nation s capital. It related stories of girls as young as thirteen who had been inveigled into houses of ill repute by scheming abductresses, where they were pressured, manipulated, or even coerced into prostitution. There were rooms in London, the Gazette revealed, that had been specially padded to stifle their screams. In a zealous effort to demonstrate the horrifying ease with which these hapless young girls were being bought and sold by greedy flesh merchants, editor William T. Stead scandalized the public by successfully purchasing a thirteen year-old girl from her mother for the meager price of 5-a journalistic excess for which he served three months in prison. A controversial milestone in modern journalism, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon generated sufficient public outrage to secure passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which raised the age of consent in the United Kingdom from thirteen to sixteen. Seller Inventory # APC9781463647681

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Book Description CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Paperback. Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. 132 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.4in.Serialized in the Pall Mall Gazette during July, 1885, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon created a sensation in Victorian London with its shocking depiction of a rampant child sex trade thriving in the nations capital. It related stories of girls as young as thirteen who had been inveigled into houses of ill repute by scheming abductresses, where they were pressured, manipulated, or even coerced into prostitution. There were rooms in London, the Gazette revealed, that had been specially padded to stifle their screams. In a zealous effort to demonstrate the horrifying ease with which these hapless young girls were being bought and sold by greedy flesh merchants, editor William T. Stead scandalized the public by successfully purchasing a thirteen year-old girl from her mother for the meager price of 5a journalistic excess for which he served three months in prison. A controversial milestone in modern journalism, the Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon generated sufficient public outrage to secure passage of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which raised the age of consent in the United Kingdom from thirteen to sixteen. This item ships from La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781463647681

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