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The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon 9780979111600

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon

The Report of the Secret Commission

ISBN-10: 0979111609
ISBN-13: 9780979111600
AUTHOR:
PUBLISHER: True Bill Press, The
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Product Description: The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylonby W.T. SteadEdited, and with Annotations and an Introductory Essay by Antony E. SimpsonOriginally published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885199p.The persistence of organized prostitution reflected one of the unsavory 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 into 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 Labouchere 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.

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PUBLICATION DATE:
PAGES: 207
CATEGORY: Social Science
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