Heathen Slaves and Christian Rulers
Elizabeth Wheeler Andrew and Katharine Caroline Bushnell

Part 3 out of 4

"My observations in Court arose out of cases of kidnaping;
and, according to the practices of judges in England, in their
addresses to the Grand Juries, and on sentencing prisoners, I did
as I thought it my duty to do. I traced the cause of the kidnaping
to the demand for domestic bond servants, as Dr. Eitel calls them,
and for brothels ... I said on the 7th of October I expressly
indicate these two, and these two only, as the specific classes of
slavery in Hong Kong as then rapidly increasing ... I cannot find
a sentence in it which indicates any attempt by the Court to reach
criminally cases of concubines."

"All that I contended for in what I then said beyond punishing
kidnapers was to bring within the cognizance of the law those
who bought from such kidnapers,--the receivers of such stolen
'chattels,'--leaving such buyers to set up and prove a
justification if they could."

"On the 31st of March, 1880, prisoners in four cases of
kidnaping,--one most harrowing,--were sentenced. I there lamented,
and I am sure every right-minded man will concur with me, that
it was the fact that the very poor were punished and the rich
escaped. In that case it clearly appeared that one Leong Ming
Aseng, apparently a respectable tradesman, at all events a man of
means, had given $60 for a young girl aged 13 years, to one of the
kidnapers, and he took her away beyond the reach of her distracted
mother under circumstances from which he must have known that the
child had been kidnaped. But although the facts were known at the
Police Court, and this man remained exceeding ten days afterward
in the Colony, no charge was ever made against him. After passing
sentences at this time, I made some observations on the '_patria
potestas_' [power of the father] theory. Dr. Eitel having painted
this condition in China in what I thought too favorable colors,
I quoted from Doolittle's 'Social Life in China,' unquestioned
testimony as to what _patria potestas_ was in China before the
controversy now raised, and from Mr. Parker, Her Britannic
Majesty's Consul at Canton, as to its present state in China.
After these quotations, I simply asked, Can greater tyranny, more
unchecked caprice, be described or even conceived as inexcusable
over wife, concubine, child, or purchased or inherited
slave?'--the quotations I made being up to this time undisputed
... what I said was necessary to introduce the expression of my
conviction ... that none of the elements of the system of _patria
potestas_ exist in Hong Kong, including of course adoption. It is
to this conviction that I point as the moral ground for enforcing
English law against kidnaping and buying and selling human beings.
The gravamen of all my complaints is, that the pauper kidnapers
and sellers are punished, while the rich buyers go free. No case
can come on for trial in this Court except upon an information by
the Attorney-General. I have called on the Attorney-General of the
day to prosecute a man against whom there was evidence that the
boy he was keeping as a servant had been bought by him direct from
a kidnaper. The then Attorney-General exercised his discretion,
and did not prosecute." "There are no difficulties in the way of
carrying out the punishment of kidnaping, and sellers and buyers
of children, or of keeping children by the purchasers, or in
selling and buying of women for brothels, or in dealing with
cases of brutal bondage." "I have spoken from criminal facts and
circumstances deposed to in Court; the Chinese and Dr. Eitel have
spoken from the favorable surroundings of respectable domestic
life in China. The conflicting views thus presented are but a
reproduction of conflicting testimony in reference to negro
slavery in the West Indies, and more lately in the United States.
Very benevolent persons, some my own friends, looking at facts
from the respectable standpoint, thought that such slavery was
based on human nature, and conduced to the spread of Christianity.
But the contrary view prevailed. I am quite satisfied that the
right view on this question will ultimately prevail. As a man I
have very decided views on these subjects, but as a judge I feel
it is not for me further to debate them. I expressly retired from
doing so on the 27th of October, 1879, although I thought it
necessary in March last to comment on what I thought to be an
erroneous view of the _patria potestas_."

Later, in response to a suggestion on the part of the Governor, for a
more explicit statement as to wherein his views differ from those of
the Chinese and of Dr. Eitel, the Chief Justice says, among other

"I do not admit the statements of Dr. Eitel. They do not apply
to Hong Kong, but they may, and probably do, apply to certain
respectable classes in China proper, where China family life
proper exists. What I assert is that family life does not, in the
proper Chinese sense, exist in Hong Kong, and that although, under
certain very restricted conditions, the buying and selling, and
adopting and taking as concubines, boys and girls in China proper,
is permitted as exceptions to the penalties inflicted by Chinese
law in China proper, these conditions do not exist in Hong Kong;
and that the conditions necessary to these exceptions in their
favor in the Chinese Criminal Code do not exist in Hong Kong,
and that the penalties would apply, if in China, to all such
transactions as I have denounced in Hong Kong, of that I have no
doubt. Dr. Eitel's vindication is of a system as recognized in an
express exception to the Penal Code in China proper, which may,
for aught I know, work well in China. What I have said is that the
practices in Hong Kong do not come within the cases which are only
the exception to the penal enactments in the Chinese Code against
all such bondage in China. I have never said ... that all buying
and selling of children for adoption or domestic service is
contrary to Chinese law. What I have said is that all such buying
and selling of children as has come within my cognizance in Hong
Kong is contrary to Chinese law; but I do think that buying and
selling even for adoption and domestic servitude under the best
circumstances, constitutes slavery; legal according to Chinese
law, but illegal according to British law. Reference is made to
Chinese gentlemen; I believe that not one of them has his 'house'
in Hong Kong; the wife (small-footed) is kept at the family home
in China. Each of them has his harem only in Hong Kong. There may
be an exception to this rule, but I have never heard of any such
exception. (I know of only one, of a Chinese gentleman, who, for
certain reasons, was afraid to return to China.) ... I have not
known a single case of adoption by a Chinaman in Hong Kong. They
may exist in China proper, and possibly in Hong Kong ... They are
not in China proper a sacred religious obligation, except in
rare cases indeed, in which the conditions of clanship and other
stringent conditions are precisely complied with; and they have
as much to do with the necessities of the poor, and no more, than
would be the case in England or Ireland in the time of a famine.
These Chinese gentlemen say that the children are well cared for.
If girls eligible for marriage or concubinage, they are sold for
that, and form a profitable investment to a Chinese gentleman.
If not so eligible, they are sold for any, even the worst
purpose,--brothels, according to my experience in the Criminal
Courts of Hong Kong. If the former, it may be that they do well;
but if the latter, no slavery is worse. This as to females. And
as to males, the purchaser holds them until they can redeem
themselves, and, according to my experience, generally never.
Again, the Chinese gentlemen allege that if the adoptive parent or
master does not do his duty the actual parents have their remedy.
The answer is, so far as Hong Kong is concerned, the far greater
number of actual parents are far away in China, have entirely lost
sight of the child, and are far too poor to seek a remedy in Hong
Kong. They would have a remedy, if they were present and knew it,
but they do not know that there is a remedy. They had their remedy
from the first in China proper. Well, a remedy in the Mandarin
Court, where the longest purse prevails, and into which a poor man
seldom dares to enter a complaint."

"Lastly, it is said that the lot of these children is far happier
than if they had been left to their ordinary fate. So say these
Chinese gentlemen; so said the noble and wealthy, the much
respected slave trader and holder, a century ago in England. The
answer to him then is the only answer for these Chinese gentlemen.
It is a long one which presents itself to everyone who has studied
the slavery and the slave-trade question. Besides this long
argumentative answer, one question must be answered:--Is it right
to do or sanction wrong that good may come?"

"A very long time has elapsed since I received your letter
forwarding that dispatch [containing the request of the Secretary
of State for the Chief Justice to state his views as to Dr.
Eitel's representations], in June last; but the delay has been
advantageous, as it has enabled me to obtain a memorandum on the
subject by Mr. Francis, barrister here, and for a year Acting
Puisne Judge ... I write on this subject from an experience in
Hong Kong since early in 1861; Mr. Francis from a very extensive
experience in both China proper and in this Colony since some
years previously." He then enters into history to show that "Mr.
Francis of necessity studied ... the whole law on the subject of
slavery or bondage in every form here."

Mr. Francis first reviews all the legislative measures existent at
Hong Kong concerning slavery, in the clearest manner possible, leaving
no doubts in the mind of any fair-minded person that laws were not
wanting to put down slavery:

First: Hong Kong, being a Crown Colony, "the power of the
Sovereign in respect of legislation is absolute."

Second: The proclamation of Sir Charles Elliott, of tolerance
of native customs was "pending Her Majesty's pleasure," and no

Third: Her Majesty's pleasure was declared at Hong Kong: (a) By
the Proclamation of 1845; (b) "By Ordinance 6 of 1845, 2 of 1846,
and 12 of 1873, by the combined operation of which the law of
England, common and statute, as it existed on the 5th day of
April, 1843, became the law of Hong Kong."

Says Mr. Francis of Ordinance 6 of 1845, "The relations of husband
and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, master and servant,
whatever they may have been when Hong Kong was Chinese, became
from the date of that Ordinance what English law made them, and
nothing more or less."

"But in addition to the declarations of the Common Law," declares
Mr. Francis, the following are in full force at Hong Kong: "The
Act of the 5th George IV. c. 113, the Act of the 3rd and 4th
William IV. c. 73, and the Act 6th and 7th Victoria c. 98, which
have in the widest terms abolished slavery throughout the British
dominions." "These Acts declare it unlawful for anyone owing
allegiance to the British Crown, whether within or without the
dominions of the Crown, to hold or in any way deal in slaves, or
to participate in any way in such dealing, or to do any act which
would contribute in any way to enable others to hold or deal in
slaves. This simple declaration, if it stood alone, would make
every act of slave-holding a misdemeanour, but the Acts themselves
make it piracy, felony, or misdemeanour, as the case may be, to
do any of the acts declared to be unlawful. These Acts further
declare that persons holden in servitude as pledges or pawns for
debt shall, for the purpose of the Slave Trade Acts, be deemed and
construed to be slaves, or persons intended to be dealt with as
slaves. Hundreds of persons are held in such servitude as pledged
or pawned in Hong Kong, and not one of the parties to such
transactions has ever been proceeded against under these Acts."

"In addition to the above-mentioned Acts of George, William and
Victoria, there is also the Imperial Act, entitled The Slave
Trade Act, 1873, which consolidates the laws for the suppression
of the Slave Trade, and which is in force in Hong Kong by its own
authority. We have also the provisions of the Local Ordinance 4 of
1865, sections 50 and 51, and 2 of 1875."

"Offenses against the provisions of these Ordinances, so far as
they relate to women or children, are still very common, and
are growing more numerous every day, and until the system of
prostitution which prevails in this Colony, and the system of
breeding up young girls from their infancy to supply the brothels
of Hong Kong, Singapore, and San Francisco, _is declared to be
slavery_, and is treated and punished as such in Hong Kong, no
stop will ever be put to the kidnaping of women and the buying and
selling of female children in Hong Kong. This buying and selling
is only an effect of which the existing system of Chinese
prostitution is the cause. Get rid of that, and there is an end of

Again the nail had been struck on the head. _Licensed brothel
slavery_, as it exists at Hong Kong, was put forward by the Chinese
merchants as something to be dealt with before British officials
could consistently lay violent hands on the more trivial offenses of
_domestic slavery and so-called "adoption." Brothel slavery_, says
Mr. Francis, must be dealt with _as slavery_ before the practice of
_kidnaping_ can be put under control. This lesson was learned long
ago. What did all the laws against man-stealing and slave-trading ever
accomplish so long as the slave owner was allowed to keep his slave?
As soon as slave-holding was declared impossible in the United States,
there was no more trouble with slave-traders. Traders go to a market
where they can dispose of their goods, not to a place where their kind
of goods are a drug on the market.

Says Mr. Francis bluntly: "The Chinese custom of adoption, whether of
boys for continuing the family and worship of ancestors, or of girls
for the ordinary purposes of domestic service, is not the foundation
of all this buying and selling of women and girls; it is only the
pretext and excuse." Mr. Francis states that the buying and selling of
boys is rare as compared with the buying and selling of girls. That
there are few Chinese families in Hong Kong.

"The better class Chinese leave their wives in China. The
transaction of purchase of these boys takes place at the home of
the fathers of them in China. Seldom is it necessary to buy a son,
as the usual custom when a wife has no son is to take another
wife, not to buy a boy for a son,--hence such buying of boys is
for servitude and for ransom, at Hong Kong." "Girls are not bought
and sold in Hong Kong for domestic servitude under Chinese custom.
They are bought and sold for the purpose of prostitution, here and
elsewhere, and instead of being apprenticed to the domesticities,
and of being brought up to be good wives and mothers, they
are bought and sold,--brought up and trained for a life of
prostitution, a life of the most abject and degrading slavery....
By the last census [this was written in 1880], there were in Hong
Kong 24,387 Chinese women to 81,025 men. Of these 24,387 women
the late Mr. May [Superintendent of Police] was of opinion that
20,000, or five-sixths, come under the denomination of prostitutes
... A Chinese doctor of large experience fixed the number of
quasi-respectable women at one-fourth the whole number, or say
6,000, leaving 18,000 prostitutes. These opinions were taken and
adopted by the Commission of 1877-1879 ... Who and what are these
prostitutes who form by far the greater bulk of the Chinese female
population of Hong Kong? The Report of the Commission answers the
question: 'The great majority of them are owned by professional
brothel-keepers or traders in women in Canton or Macao; they
have been brought up for the profession, and trained in various
accomplishments suited to their life ... They frequently
know neither father nor mother, except what they call a
pocket-mother,--that is, the woman who bought them from others ...
They are owned in Macao and Canton. They are bought as infants.
They come to Hong Kong at 13 or 14, and are deflowered at a
special price which goes to the owners. The owner gets the whole
of their earnings, and even gets presents given to the girls, who
are allowed three or four dollars a month pocket-money. When some
of the girls are sent away on account of age, new ones are got
from Canton. If these girls are not slaves in every sense of the
word, there is no such thing as slavery in existence. If this
buying and selling for the purpose of training female children up
for this life is not slave-dealing, then never was such a thing
as slave-dealing in this world. There are 18,000 to 20,000
prostitutes in Hong Kong to 4,000 or 5,000 respectable Chinese
women.... Once in five years the stock has to be renewed. It is
for this purpose, and not for the legitimate or quasi-legitimate
purposes of Chinese adoption and Chinese family life, that
children and women are kidnaped and bought and sold ... Until
this slave-holding and slave-dealing are entirely suppressed, the
grosser abuses arising out of it and incidental to it (kidnaping
of women and children) can never be put an end to."

It was on May 20th, 1880, that the Secretary of State asked for the
first statement of Sir John Smale's views as to kidnaping and domestic
slavery. His reply is dated August 26th, and in it he refers to
reasons for his delay in replying, of which the Governor is "well
aware." His supplementary letter enclosing the Memorandum of slavery
by Mr. Francis, was dated Nov. 24th, 1880. On April 2nd, 1881, he
wrote a third time to the Colonial Secretary, from which we gather
that even up to that time his explanations had not been forwarded to
Lord Kimberley, Secretary of State. Said he:

"I had hoped that these letters would have been forwarded
last year, in the belief that they might have induced a less
unfavorable view by Lord Kimberley of my judicial action as to
these matters, and with the more important object of presenting
what appears to me to be the great gravity of the evils I have
denounced, as they affect the moral status of the Colony, in order
that some remedy may be applied to them.... I am informed that His
Excellency the Governor has been unable to obtain the opinion of
the Attorney-General on the points raised." ...

It is impossible not to feel that this neglect on the part of someone
at Hong Kong to forward the Chief Justice's letters until the first of
these was a year old (for they were actually sent in August, 1881),
was a designed obstruction of his endeavors to set himself in the
correct light, and to enlighten the Christian public of Great Britain
as to the abuses existing at Hong Kong.

In this letter expressing regret at the delay of his letters, he
speaks of convictions of eight more cases of kidnaping, and "almost
unprecedented brutal assaults on bought children." "Considering the
special waste of life in brothel life, and the general want of new
importations to keep up the bondage class of 20,000 in this Colony,
the cases of kidnaping detected cannot be one-half of one per cent of
the children and women kidnaped."

"Two cases of brutal treatment of young girls by purchasers, their
pocket-mothers, one little girl having had her leg broken by
beating her, and the other having been shockingly and indecently
burnt,--both probably weakened for life,--illustrate the cruel
passions which ownership in human beings engenders here, as it
ever has done elsewhere. In a case now before the magistrate, the
evidence tends to show that a girl thirteen years old was
bought by a brothel-keeper for $200, and forced, by beating and
ill-treatment, into that course of life in a brothel licensed by
law. Subject to such surveillance as these houses are by law, it
seems to me such slavery is easy of suppression."

At this time the official career of Sir John Smale at Hong Kong



We have traced the development of slavery from State-protected brothel
slavery to State-tolerated domestic slavery and "adoption" of boys.
Now we turn to Singapore, to find that all these forms of slavery
exist there under the British flag, with the addition of a
coolie-traffic dangerously like slavery, also, and they are all
under the management of the Registrar General, or "Protector of the
Chinese," as he is always called at the Straits. For the general
description of conditions in the Straits Settlements, more especially
at Singapore, we give in full a paper read by an Englishman, a
resident of Singapore for many years, at the Annual Conference of
American Methodist Missionaries, held in Singapore in 1894,--a paper
which was endorsed by that body:

It has come to be almost universally acknowledged that Singapore
is indebted as much to Chinese as to British enterprise for its
present commercial prosperity, and therefore the subject of
Chinese labour which is vexing America and Australia, assumes a
very different aspect in the Straits Settlements, and the fact
that Chinese immigration has increased 50 per cent in the last ten
years is looked upon as an unmitigated blessing. The magnitude of
the Singapore labour trade will be understood when it is known
that the number of Chinese who came to this port last year, either
as genuine immigrants or for transshipment to other ports, was
122,029, which is actually more than the entire Chinese population
of the town. In connection with the immigration of this multitude
of men and women, speaking many dialects of a language which is
wholly unknown to the officials of the British Government in the
Straits, with the exception of perhaps half a dozen persons, it
cannot be wondered at that many abuses arise, and the suspicion
has gained ground and is frequently given expression to, in the
public press and elsewhere, that many of the immigrants do not
come to Singapore of their free will. Moreover, it cannot be
denied that the circumstances under which the Chinese come to
Singapore and are forwarded to their destination lend colour to
this suspicion, so that it may fairly be inquired whether the
efforts made by the Government of the Straits Settlements to
control the Chinese coolie traffic and to prevent a secret form
of slavery have been attended with any success, or are at all
adequate to the requirements of the case.

The Annual Report for the year 1892 on the Chinese Protectorate in
the Straits Settlements which is the department charged with the
control of immigration, was published on the 5th of May, 1893, and
states that of the 122,029 Chinese deck passengers who arrived in
Singapore from China during the year, 111,164 were males, 6,867
women and 3,998 children. The circumstances under which the men
and the women are brought to Singapore are in many respects the
same, but inasmuch as a large number of the women and some of
the children are imported for immoral purposes, this part of the
subject will be dealt with separately. Turning then to the above
mentioned Report, we find as regards male immigration, that out of
the 111,164 who arrived in Singapore 23,647 proceeded direct to
Penang, and 1,798 to Malacca, Bangkok and Mauritius, leaving
85,719 remaining in Singapore, of whom 76,601 are classed as
'paid passengers,' and 9,118 as "unpaid passengers received into
depots." With the former class the Chinese Protectorate has
nothing more to do, unless they come to the Protector to sign a
Government labour contract with planters or other employers
of labor, but with the 'unpaid passengers' the case is very
different. These men are brought to the Straits to the number of
about 15,000 a year, under what is spoken of in the Report as
"the much objurgated depot and broker system," and the facts as
presented below will speak for themselves as to whether the
objurgations are warranted or not. The brokers are all China men,
and are admitted to be men of the worst character. They have their
assistants or partners in the chief ports of China, who scout
the country round in search of men and are known to be not very
particular as to the means they employ in obtaining them. Nothing
is required of the recruit except a willingness to hand himself
over with his scanty outfit to the tender mercies of the broker,
who pays his passage and provides him with food and such things as
he considers needful. While the vessels, however, with their decks
crowded with emigrants, are leaving the Chinese ports, it is a
common occurrence for the cry of "man overboard" to be raised, so
common indeed that few Captains now take the trouble to stop their
ships, leaving the fugitive coolie to his fate or to be picked up
by one of the native craft which are usually close at hand. The
readiness of the Chinese emigrant thus to risk his life for the
purpose of regaining his freedom, is explained by the advocates of
the depot and broker system as arising from a desire on his part
to outwit the broker and perhaps obtain another bonus by offering
himself a second time as a candidate for the honour of a free
passage, but it seems quite as likely that nothing less than
kidnaping or forcible detention would induce men to run so great
a risk. On arrival at Singapore the broker is again on the _qui
vive_ to see that his captives do not jump into the sea, and as
each coolie ship arrives at the wharf, a small force of police
is in waiting to keep a space clear and prevent any attempt at
escape, while the officers of the Protectorate board the ship,
accompanied by a further force of marine police, for the purpose
of inspecting the coolies. When permission is given to disembark,
the unpaid passengers are made up into small parties and marched
through the town to the depots under the escort of the brokers and
several of their assistants, with much yelling and good deal of
rough handling, and an occasional halt while a straggler or a
would be runaway is brought back to the party. That the coolies
are frequently successful in their attempts to escape is shown
in the Report of the Chinese Protectorate, 160 being returned as
'absconded either when landing or at depot' in Singapore, and 101
at Penang, or about 1-3/4 per cent of the "unpaid passengers". On
arrival at the depot, the coolies are probably surprised to find
themselves securely confined in houses which look uncomfortably
like prisons, and the passer-by may see the dirty and unkempt
_sin-khehs_ or "new men," as these emigrants are called, peering
out between the thick wooden bars of the windows. The coolies
are thus forcibly detained at the depots until the brokers are
successful in finding employers who are prepared to pay the price
per head which they demand, a sum of about L10. In the meanwhile
however, it appears from the Report that nearly 4-1/2 per cent of
the inmates of the depots are discovered and redeemed by their
friends, the numbers being 414 at Singapore, and 278 at Penang,
and a further 1-3/4 per cent, or 236 at Singapore, and 55 at
Penang, are shown under the headings "released and returned to
China," having presumably been discovered to have been kidnaped.
Of the total number of "unpaid passengers" arriving at Singapore
and Penang, about 91 per cent eventually sign contracts and are
made over to their employers or their agents, the majority of
these being shipped off, under escort as before to the Native
States of the Malay Peninsula or other neighboring countries, to
labour for a fixed term of years after which the coolie is free to
return to his native land or to seek such other employment as he
may see fit.

Such are the circumstances under which thousands of our fellow
beings are annually brought to the labour market at Singapore, and
it must be admitted that, to say the least of it, the system does
not seem worthy of Western nineteenth century civilization. At the
same time the extreme difficulty of controlling the 'depot and
broker system,' or even of providing an efficient substitute for
it, must be freely admitted. The system of Government contracts
and inspection of immigrants has already done something toward
ameliorating the condition of the coolie, and guarding him against
illegal detention after his arrival at Singapore or Penang. Much
more, however, remains to be done before the coolie trade will
cease to be a reproach to the Straits Settlements, and it is
doubtful whether any satisfactory reforms will be accomplished
until the Chinese Government is moved in the matter with a view to
checking the evil at the fountain head. Failing this, it would be
worth considering whether the system of "unpaid passengers" might
not advantageously be abolished, especially as this class of
immigrant represents only 11 per cent of the total immigration,
and more than one-third of the labor contracts last year were
voluntarily signed by "paid passengers." It seems probable that if
the "unpaid passenger" system were abolished, and the market thus
thrown open to free competition, a much larger number of "paid
passengers" would offer for contracts. But, even if this plan
should appear to involve too great a risk of diminishing the flow
of Chinese coolies to Singapore, it surely would not too severely
tax the ingenuity of the Straits Government to devise a system of
State-aided immigration, closely resembling that which has for
many years been working in Canada, and more in accord with the
dictates of ordinary humanity and English ideas of the liberty of
the subject.

Among the Chinese at Singapore the women number less than
one-fifth of the population, and at Penang the proportion between
males and females is practically the same. In the immigration
returns the disparity is even more marked, for there is only
one female immigrant to every eighteen men. This extraordinary
preponderance of males in the Chinese population of these towns
has given rise to, and is made the standing excuse for, a
wholesale system of prostitution to which it would be difficult
to find a parallel. Government registration and protection have
favored the growth of this diabolical plague spot, for, strange to
say, this gigantic system of debauchery is under the direction
of the department which is euphemistically entitled "The Chinese
Protectorate," the "Protector of Chinese" at Singapore being also
the Inspector of over 200 brothels, and the Registrar of about
1,800 prostitutes. Many streets of well built three-story houses,
chiefly in one particular quarter of the town, are devoted to this
nefarious traffic, and are thronged every night with Chinamen who
loaf about and gaze into the front rooms and verandahs of the
brothels, for these front rooms open on the street and there
the women and girls are assembled in their best attire for the
inspection of the passers-by. Anything more ostentatiously and
revoltingly public could hardly have been devised, and it is
painful to reflect that the whole arrangement is the product of
Western civilization, such scenes being utterly unknown in China
except in the treaty ports, where public prostitution has also
been introduced by Europeans.

Taking Singapore as a sample of the working of this system of
regulated vice in the Straits Settlements, we will now proceed
to inquire into the means by which this army of prostitutes is
recruited. Out of the total of 1,800 prostitutes in Singapore the
Chinese women number on the average 1,600, and last year (1892) no
less than 621 women entered brothels from China and Hong Kong, in
spite of which the number of inmates fell from 1,657 in January
to 1,601 in December, so that it may fairly be inferred that more
than 650 women are required annually to fill up the vacancies
which occur. In order to explain the manner in which this large
number of girls and young women are obtained each year, it must be
stated that all the affairs connected with the inmates of houses
of ill-fame in the Straits Settlements are in the hands of
the brothel-keepers. These persons in Penang have formed a
"Brothel-keepers' Guild," which appears in the Report of the
Chinese Protectorate as one of the registered societies of that
town and boasts of 297 members. The brothel-keepers of Singapore
are probably banded together in the same way, and in proportion to
the number of brothels should be more than twice as numerous as
those in Penang. These brothel-keepers have their confederates in
China, who search for girls and young women in the same way that
the coolie-brokers search for the men, and these unfortunate young
persons are brought to Singapore in batches under escort in the
same way as the men, but are taken from the ships in closed
carriages instead of being driven through the town like sheep, as
the men are. All these young women and girls, who are brought
to Singapore for immoral purposes, with the full knowledge and
consent of the Government, are taken direct from the ships to the
office of the Protector of Chinese, to be questioned as to their
willingness to lead a life of shame; but the value of this
interrogation may be inferred from the fact that the subordinate
officer to whom this duty is generally assigned is not acquainted
with the language spoken by the women. As a further precaution
against the illegal detention of women and girls in brothels, a
Government notice is posted in each of these houses, to the effect
that the inmates are perfectly at liberty to leave whenever they
like, but this is of little use, as hardly any of them can read,
and it would be more to the purpose if the Government ordered the
removal of the bars from the doors and windows of the brothels.
The fact is that these precautions against illegal detention are
practically useless, and this is admitted even by the editor of
such a paper as the _Hong Kong Daily Press_, who some time ago
discussed the question _apropos_ of the suicide of a Hong Kong
prostitute who was desirous of being married. The man who wished
to marry her offered the pocket-mother a sum of $2,000, but she
demanded $2,300 and refused to part with the woman for less;
whereupon she hung herself. The following comments on this case
are from the _Hong Kong Daily Press_:

"It would appear on the face of it that the efforts of the
Government are absolutely impotent, the notices so much waste
paper, and the 'rights of liberty' mere empty phrases of no
meaning or significance to the Chinese mind ... A Chinawoman would
never dream of effecting her escape for the purpose of evading the
blood money. Of course such transactions are absolutely illegal,
there is no tittle of reason why the man should pay a cent for the
girl, but it is nevertheless an indubitable fact that the custom
is widely prevalent, and that Hong Kong is a market for the buying
and selling of women which the Government is powerless to touch.
Exeter Hall in possession of these facts would indeed have a theme
for pious lucubrations."

Commenting upon the same case the _Singapore Free Press_ says:

"A recent investigation into a case of suicide in Hong Kong brings
into strong prominence what is really a system of slavery of the
worst kind, and which is not unknown in Singapore."

Such testimony is valuable from papers which have consistently
supported the Contagious Diseases Ordinances and vilified the
opponents of the State regulation of vice. There can be little
doubt that a large proportion of the girls and young women who are
brought to the Straits Settlements for immoral purposes have been
sold in China to the brothel-keepers' confederates. In many cases
girls are thus sold by their parents for the payment of gambling
and other debts, and sometimes, alas, to provide money for the
purchase of opium. Surely it is a burning shame that British
Colonies should have become the market for the sale of Chinese
women into this diabolical form of slavery.

This article cannot be closed without a brief reference to another
and more subtle form of slavery which is well known to exist in
the Straits. The last Report of the Chinese Protectorate reveals
the fact that during last year (1892) in Singapore alone 426
prostitutes left brothels and went into private houses, and in
the same period 148 left private houses and entered brothels. The
wealthy Chinese in the Straits Settlements keep up very large
establishments, and the uninitiated visitor cannot fail to be
surprised at the number of young women in the quarter assigned
to the servants. They are employed on house work, and keep the
magnificent furniture and wardrobes in splendid order, and in many
cases they make cakes and sweetmeats which are sold on the streets
by their own offspring. The question naturally arises,--Are these
women and girls free agents? It is very difficult to say with
certainty whether they are free or not, but it is generally
admitted that a subtle form of domestic slavery does exist in the
Straits, and that boys as well as girls are bought and sold with

This account in no way exaggerates conditions, as official
documents plainly show. We will confine our thoughts, however,
to the women. In a plea for the continuance of the Contagious
Diseases Ordinance at Singapore, Mr. Pickering, "Protector,"
describes two classes of prostitutes, a proportion of free women
"who come down here to gain a livelihood, and girls purchased when
very young.... These are absolutely the property of their owners,
chiefly women whom the girl calls 'mother,' and whom they regard
as such.... The mistress brings her girls down to the Straits, and
either sells them, or takes them from place to place, lodging them
in licensed brothels where she resides, nominally a servant, but
receiving the earnings of her girls, and paying a commission to
the licensed keeper. In case of sale, the so-called 'mother'
receives the price paid for her 'daughter,' and the 'daughter'
signs a promissory note for the amount, with heavy interest; the
former owner returns to China, and the victim is bound to serve
the Straits mistress; at the same time, the girl is comparatively
(!) fortunate in that, coming here under the protection we can
give through the Contagious Diseases Ordinances, she has some
chance of becoming a free woman."

Now listen, reader, to the wonderful chances of becoming a free woman
under the British flag, this "Protector" holds out to the slave girls
who are placed in his officially managed brothels:

"The girls with their promissory notes are passed from hand to
hand in sale, or as pledges for loans; and in one brothel I found
two girls, who had, on arrival in Singapore from China some six
years previous, signed a note for $300 each, of which every cent
had been received and taken back to China by the person who had
disposed of them. During the six years they had been the property
of two or three successive owners, and when I found them in Penang
they were still being detained with the original promissory note
hanging over them, though the sum had been paid over and over
again. On my insisting on accounts being produced by the
brothel-keeper, I discovered that for three years the girls had
been earning from 20 to 30 dollars each per month, all of which
went to the master, who was surprised when the girls were released
and himself threatened with the law." (!)

From this we discover that Mr. Pickering intends that we shall think
that the reason why he has a salary from the British Government,
is, among other things, to see that slave girls only need to redeem
themselves by hard earned money through unspeakable humiliation from
one, or two, or more owners, and then there is an end to the patience
of the "Protector" with the slave-trader, who will be surprised to
find himself "threatened"--not punished--with the law! But Cecil C.
Smith, formerly Protector of Chinese (Registrar General) at Hong Kong,
was knighted and made Governor at Singapore, and about a year later
than this, says, in reference to this very representation: "The
Protector of Chinese has no efficient means of dealing with the
accounts of the inmates of brothels, nor has he ever dealt with them.
The Government should hold itself entirely aloof from interfering with
such matters." We see, then, of how much account the representations
of Mr. Pickering were as to the usefulness of the "Protector" to the
women at this point, but incidentally he has revealed a shocking state
of slavery perfectly known and not in the least interfered with by the

Mr. Pickering continues: "At that time the majority of inmates of
brothels were in the same condition; besides this, they were subject
to great cruelty and restraint." He professes a great improvement,
since then, but we may take his word for what it is worth on such
a point. "We, indeed ... have asked for, and trust to get, more
legislation to enable us to rescue the numbers of small children who,
purchased in China, are brought down here and trained for a life of
prostitution." Nothing of the sort. He knew perfectly well, as did
every Englishman in the Colony, that the Common Law alone of Great
Britain, if there were nothing more, was quite sufficient to deliver
every one of these children, as well as every slave girl, in the
country. If more legislation were desired it was for some other
purpose than to empty the brothels of their slaves. He goes on to
state that children born in brothels "in case of free women belong
to the mother, but when prostitutes, their issue is claimed by their
owners, unless their mothers complain to the Registrar," which of
course, he knew, they would never venture to do. "We know well that
even now there is a deal of traffic in young girls going on, and
that a number of inmates of brothels are really slaves.... The only
Europeans I have heard object to the Contagious Diseases Ordinance are
those who, in their well-meant zeal, would abolish prostitution, and
punish all parties engaged as criminals." Precisely! Sir John Smale
at Hong Kong had undertaken to "punish all parties engaged" in this
nefarious slave business, and his methods were declared unwise and
unpractical, simply because his methods endangered prostitution in the
form of brothel-slavery. Says Mr. Pickering in conclusion:

"I myself profess to be a Christian, and endeavor according to my
light, and as far as my nature will allow, to conform my conduct
to the standards of my religion; while holding these principles, I
certainly feel that I should not be acting in accordance with the
wishes of my Master, were I not to advocate most strongly that healing
should be extended to the poor, the helpless, and afflicted, whether
they be harlots or any other kind of sinners, who; unless the
Government assist them by forced examinations, will suffer and often
die in misery from the want of medical assistance." Perhaps the most
charitable view to take of this creature is that suggested by himself.
He was a Christian, he claims, "as far as my nature will allow." Had
his nature only allowed him to see further, he would have perceived
a distance as wide as heaven is from hell between the conduct of the
Divine Master who "went about healing all that were oppressed," and
the man who prostitutes the healing art to the service of libertines,
in making it healthier, if possible, for them to defy the commandments
of that same Divine Master. Such doctors are the offscouring of the
medical profession.

A Chinaman one day entered Mr. Pickering's office at the Protectorate
in Singapore, accused him of selling his brother into slavery, and
tried to brain him with an axe. The blow was not fatal, but the
"Protector," if living, is still in a mad house.

The attitude of the average official mind in this part of the world,
among the British, as betrayed by innumerable expressions in their own
documents, is perhaps most precisely put by Mr. Swettenham. British
Resident at Perak. Speaking of measures adopted to make vice more
healthy, he says: "As to the Chinese, the only question in the minds
of members (of the Council) was whether such an Order would not drive
the women from the state," and then he declares the measures were
introduced cautiously and gradually ... "The steps already taken have
been with the object of protecting Chinese women from ill treatment
and oppression in a state of life ... where the labour required is
compulsory prostitution for the benefit of unscrupulous masters ...
and secondly, in the interest of public order and decency ..." "always
remembering that where the males so enormously outnumber the females,
the prostitute is a necessary evil," "I have avoided any reference to
the moral question," continues Mr. Swettenham, "Morality is dependent
on the influence of climate, religious belief, education, and the
feeling of society. All these conditions differ in different parts of
the world."



After eighteen years' hard struggle, the British Abolitionists
succeeded in getting Parliament to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts
in force in certain military stations in England, and in force in
other parts of the British Empire. It now became the duty of the
Secretary of State for the Colonies to see that all the Crown
Colonies, such as Hong Kong and Singapore followed suit. This was in
1886, and the Contagious Diseases Ordinances for these two places were
not replaced by other legislation until 1888 at Singapore, and 1890 at
Hong Kong. From what we have seen of the spirit of these officials
in general it seems needless to say that the old Contagious Diseases
Ordinances were repealed amid a storm of protests. One of the
Municipal Commissioners of Singapore "said that the repeal of the
Contagious Diseases Ordinance was the most cruel and merciless act
which had ever been done." A statement from the unofficial members
of the Legislative Council at Hong Kong declared: "In England abuses
might have arisen under the recent law, but here it is impossible,"
and very much more of the same false nature. The new Ordinances are
excellent reading, and in the hands of the right sort of officials
would do incalculable good. _But laws were not needed in the Colonies
to put down slavery._ Mr. Francis' Memorandum, and Sir John Smale's
pronouncements have clearly demonstrated that fact, but the right sort
of men were needed to enforce the laws already in existence, in the
same disinterested manner in which Sir John Smale had wrought so
effectually. The new law was, however, put in each case under the
administration of the "Protector" and his staff of officials, and the
result has been, and could but be unsatisfactory, to the present day.

For instance, in 1893, Mr. H.E. Wodehouse, Police Magistrate at
Hong Kong, in reporting on a case of suicide of a slave girl to the
Colonial Secretary at Hong Kong, to be transmitted for the information
of Lord Ripon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had asked for
the information, goes quite fully into a description of conditions at
this time, three years after the passage of the Protective Ordinance.
He says:

"The name of the deceased was Chan Ngan-Kin.... She was registered
as a prostitute in this brothel on the 23rd of December, 1890.
When registering her name she said she had no pocket-mother, that
her parents were both dead, and that she became a prostitute
of her own free will. The inspector said that that was the
description of themselves that nearly all prostitutes give, and
that it was very rarely that it was true. The further evidence
went to prove that she and a young man were mutually attached to
each other, and he was anxious to redeem her, and that she was
desirous of being redeemed, but that the price asked, two thousand
three hundred dollars, was more than he was willing to give,
though he was willing to give two thousand dollars.... There is
little doubt that his inability to redeem her caused her to commit
suicide.... The pocket-mother was not produced [at the inquest],
and there was a general disposition on the part of the Chinese
witnesses to withhold information."

Lord Ripon said in his letter of inquiry: "If the facts were as stated
in the above-mentioned paper, it would seem to prove that it is not
generally understood in the Colony that a brothel keeper has no legal
right to demand any redemption money for the release of one of the
inmates." To this the Magistrate replies, in explanation:

"It is not quite correct to speak of the brothel-keeper as
demanding redemption money. The person whose property the
prostitute is is the pocket-mother, that is to say, the purchaser
of the girl. Nearly every prostitute has her own pocket-mother,
and she it is who has sole control over the prostitute's
movements. All the earnings go to her, and the redemption money
when redemption takes place. The 'brothel-keeper' is a creation
of the Government, and the term has, I think, led to some
misappreciation of the actual state of things. It is true that,
being registered by the Government, she becomes in a manner
responsible for the proper conduct of the establishment, but the
property in the girl does not rest in her, except in the case of
the two or three girls to whom she may herself be pocket-mother,
that is to say, whom she may herself have purchased. The
pocket-mothers are the real proprietresses of their purchases, and
a brothel-keeper would not regard herself as in any way connected
with such girls, beyond the obligation devolving upon her of
registering the inmates of the house of which she, as tenant or
owner, was the proprietress. A Chinese brothel is in fact merely
a collection under one roof of several different establishments,
consisting of the pocket-mothers and their purchases, the
pocket-mothers for the most part being the body-servants of their
charges, and administering to their daily wants, though in reality
their mistresses and their absolute owners."

The document scarcely needs comment. It illustrates the fact that one
may have most ideal laws, but laws never operate automatically, and in
the absence of any desire to "let the oppressed go free," but rather
an eager desire to hold them in subjection to the base propensities of
profligate men, as all the State documents representing the situation
tend to show, there is small proof that the "Women and Girls'
Protective Ordinance of 1889" has had any appreciable effect in
altering the slave conditions at Hong Kong. The same old notorious
inspector, John Lee, who, Governor Hennessy thought, ought to have
been prosecuted for manslaughter, after he hounded those native women
to their death, was Chief Inspector of Brothels at Hong Kong in 1894,
when we made investigations in that Colony, and personally interviewed
many of these slave girls, and heard their stories.

The most recent official documents relating to the matter have been
commented upon in _The Shield_ (organ of the British Committee of the
International Purity Federation), in its issue dated London, June,
1906, as follows:

"One of the most important parliamentary papers of recent years on
our question has just been issued in response to questions put in
the House of Commons by Mr. Henry J. Wilson, M.P., on March 8th
last. The title is, 'Further Correspondence relating to Measures
Adopted for Checking the Spread of Venereal Disease' (Cd. 2903),
and relates to enactments in the Straits Settlements, Hong Kong,
and Gibraltar, during the period in which the Rt. Hon. Joseph
Chamberlain was at the head of the Colonial office.

"The correspondence in question further reveals the existence and
extent of a 'Yellow Slave Trade' in the East of large dimensions.
The girls in question are stated to be 'bought when young,' and
'believe themselves bound body and soul to the brothel-keepers.'
Nine hundred and sixty-eight Chinese women, presumably of this
kind, are reported at Penang, and 62 Japanese women. There were
176 admissions of Japanese women, and 141 admissions of Chinese
women in 1899 to the public hospital at Singapore, besides numbers
of other cases to private hospitals maintained by the keepers of
the houses of ill-fame.

"Many passages in the correspondence give evidence of a continual
import traffic going on, which the head of the Regulation
Department, the 'Protector of Chinese,' at Singapore, seems to
have made some effort to counteract. He speaks of ten girls
between 9 and 15 that he attempted to rescue from sale to
a traveling dealer, but who were returned to their former
surroundings on a writ of _habeas corpus_ by the Supreme Court;
but upon information in regard to this case reaching the Colonial
office in London, correspondence ensued which resulted in Mr.
Chamberlain directing an alteration of the law to meet the case of
the prosecution which had so lamentably failed.

"The Protector of Chinese also tells of 'girls under ten years of
age who are bought and sold in the colony,' 'brought from China
for purposes of sale,' 'generally sold to inmates of brothels,'
and of women who are 'in the habit of arriving from China with
relays of babies' for the same purpose. The Straits Settlements
Government thus attempts to cut off a twig here and there of the
tree of this evil traffic, whilst leaving untouched the root and
trunk of the tree itself, the State protection of vice, by which
it is made practicable safely to invest large capital in this most
nefarious but lucrative traffic.

"Page 4 of this Correspondence shows that an ordinance was passed
in 1899, imposing very heavy fines and imprisonment on any keeper
of a brothel who allowed any of the inmates suffering from
contagious disease to remain in the house. This has led to a
system of private arrangements with medical men for the periodical
sanitary inspection and treatment of the inmates.

"At page 19 the Acting Colonial Surgeon says: 'A large number of
Japanese houses had some time before made private arrangements
with my partner, Dr. Mugliston and myself, for medical attendance,
and the rumor regarding the intended legislation induced most
of the remainder to follow their example during the month of
September. The increase of Japanese inmates (of the hospital) for
this month, therefore, was caused by our sending in those cases
of disease then found among these fresh houses.' Paragraph 4, the
same page, says: 'With regard to the Chinese women we already had
long had a number of Chinese brothels to attend professionally;
during September of 1899 a large proportion of the remainder made
similar arrangements with us.'

"It is difficult to say positively what the precise nature of
these transactions is, but it is only too evident that the
acting Colonial surgeon, with his professional partner, was most
improperly mixed up with the business arrangements of the
brothel-keepers. These people, indeed, figure so that they must
have constituted a very good, and perhaps the most lucrative
portion of the practice of these doctors.

"To cope with the extra business brought in by these arrangements,
section 2 of paragraph 4, page 19, says: 'In September, 1899, four
private lock hospitals were organized, one in each of the four
main sections of brothels, by the keepers under our direction.'
Paragraph 6 says: 'We make frequent periodic inspections of the
Chinese brothels, seeing each inmate, and visit our private
hospitals daily.' Here, again, it may be asked what are the
precise relations of the acting Colonial surgeon to 'our private
hospitals?' It is satisfactory to know that inquiries are being
made by our Parliamentary friends in regard to this peculiar, if
not suspicious, circumstance.

"Mr. Chamberlain, with all the foregoing facts before his eyes,
says on page 21: 'I am glad to find that the Protector of Chinese
and the acting Colonial surgeon have, so far, been able to give
such a satisfactory report of the working of the ordinance.'

"At Hong Kong, 'the keepers of Chinese and Japanese brothels
frequented by Europeans have retained private practitioners as
their medical advisers, and a small private lock-hospital has been
instituted for Japanese women.' This followed on 33 prosecutions
instituted by the police in respect of 89 complaints made by
soldiers and sailors of the British forces. Page 35 and elsewhere
show that prosecutions have taken place of 'sly brothels,'
competing with the 'regular professed brothels.'

"It is to be hoped that this Blue-book will, with facts now
being published in various parts of Europe and in America, draw
attention to the necessity of a new movement (supplementary to the
great movement now on foot for the suppression of the 'White Slave
Trade'), for the suppression of the 'Yellow Slave Trade,' which is
becoming almost world-wide in character."

As the supply of girls both in Singapore and Hong Kong comes very
largely from Canton, let us first describe the conditions we found
there. Our Journal of February 14th, 1894, reads as follows:

"We went in company with a missionary and a native, both of
whom could talk both English and Chinese, and visited some
'flower-boats' on the river. Many of these boats are quite
pretentious, with their rich wood-carving, fine furniture,
and gaudy display of tinsel. There were whole streets of
them,--floating houses moored together; we walked along the length
of the street on one side, stepping from the bow of one boat to
the next, the bows of the boats constituting front verandahs. We
called at almost every place, but a description of one will do for
all. First, as we entered, was a couch for opium smoking; just
beyond this a reception room, very gaudy, with dozens of hanging
lamps, and at one end a shrine for the gods, and offerings before
it. In a room back of the reception room, and also upstairs,
there were girls in large numbers. A hard-featured old woman came
forward from the back room, who, our interpreter said, was as good
a specimen as we could possibly have seen of an old brothel-keeper
of Canton, one who had been in the business for many years of
buying or otherwise obtaining babies and girls, and training them
for prostitution. The girls came crowding to the door of the back
room, and looked in upon us with eager curiosity. Our interpreter
called our attention to the manner of dressing the hair,--like
married women,--as indicating their bad life. The interpreter said
they were inducted usually at about thirteen years of age. They
were all dressed very showily, and heavily powdered and painted,
excepting some mere babies who were plainly dressed. Troops of
little girls, from four to five years of age, swarmed out of the
neighboring 'flower-boats' and gathered around us, screaming and
scrambling, falling, laughing, and following us the full length of
the street, which was made up of about twenty such boats on either
side. And none of these innocent little things at all realized the
fate in store for them. In one place we saw two very old women in
the front room. In another, a woman knelt before the idolatrous
shrine engaged in her devotions. At one point there was a very
large boat brilliantly fitted up for music, dancing, smoking
opium, and feasting. At the far end of the street was a
'kitchen-boat,' from which supplies of food, ready cooked,
could be bought. All the way along we saw little girls with the
unmistakable signs of their destiny upon them. Our interpreter
said the girls were usually made to stay upstairs during the day
time, but at night the whole place was illuminated and alive; then
they were brought down and to the front. Occasionally we would see
one of these huge house boats full of painted girls, floating down
the middle of the stream, for they move about from place to place
at will.

"At Canton, February 18th, 1894, we met and conversed with a
missionary lady who had just come from a station in the interior.
She had travelled from her station on a Chinese boat, which had
been chartered by her adopted son for his use going up, and for
hers coming down the river. When she was about to embark, she
required that the men should search the boat, and down below, in
the very bottom, were a lot of little girls--_child slaves_--being
smuggled to Canton for the trade of a vile life. She made the men
take the children off the boat, but with great difficulty. They
resisted, but she stood courageously, and saw her commands
executed. After she had accomplished this, and started down the
river, all alone, so far as any English-speaking person was
concerned, the men, who were still deeply enraged at being
defeated in their plans, greatly annoyed her by intruding on her
constantly, and finally they threatened to kill her; but she
presented as brave a front as possible, and at last took hold
of one man who was especially insolent, by the shoulder, in an
authoritative manner, bidding him to go out of her presence. He
went away cowed, and they all said, as was reported to her by one
of her attendants, 'She is not afraid'; they then became very
superstitious at the idea of a woman taking hold of them, and
troubled her no more.

"The five or six Christian friends where we were staying in Canton
all agreed that it was the most common occurrence for little girls
to be bought and sold for immoral purposes. One of the group
has often heard the wretched blind girls singing just under her
window, on the river bank, and under conduct of the old
brothel-keeper, their owner, thus attracting custom. The
proportion of blind people in Oriental countries is much greater,
owing to the prevalence of eye diseases and the poverty and
ignorance of the people in coping with these, than in the West;
and as blind girls do not bring much money when disposed of as
wives, so they are sold in large numbers into a life of shame.
Poor little slaves! Because they are deprived of the natural light
of day, so they are destined never to see a ray of moral light
enter their miserable existence! We saw three or four little blind
girls who had been rescued, by these Christian workers, from their
terrible fate; but these are only a few rare exceptions out of the
thousands that are borne on into the tide of shame and anguish

Of the many girls we interviewed at Hong Kong the story of the
following seems typical of her class, so we extract it from our

"At the first place we called there were six inmates--four of whom
were present at the interview. The keeper went out of the room as
we entered, and did not return. The girls were very friendly, and
one of them talked a little English. This one told us that she
came from Canton, and, in broken English, said that she had 'no
father, no mother, no brother; a poor man took her when a _very_
little child and raised her to sell. By and by a woman came and
offered to buy poor man's little girl, and as he had but little
food, he asks, 'How much?' then she buys the little girl and
brings her to Hong Kong. Then woman take her to Englishman and
say, 'She first-class girl,' and he say, 'I make her my wife,' but
he not good; he no husband; he go away to his house--England.'
Thus she described in a few simple words the tragedy of her life
with tears in her eyes; her training for vice; her sale; her hopes
of marriage; her desertion; the outcome, her consignment to a
Government-licensed brothel. She was but one of the tens of
thousands at Hong Kong. We asked, 'How would a girl have to do in
order to live in this house?' They said, 'She must be registered
at the Lock. Hospital, and would have to go to the Court and Mr.
Lockhart (the Registrar-General) would ask her questions; whether
she had a father and mother; how old she was; _where the money
went to that was paid for her_; and whether she wanted to be a
prostitute or not.' We asked, 'If a girl should say that she _did
not_ want to be a prostitute what would be done?' They answered,
'No girl would _dare_ to say this _when she had been bought_.' We
asked the girl who talked English over again about this, and she
said the same.

"All the places of infamy reserved for the use of Europeans which
we visited in Hong Kong, were within three minutes' walk of
Victoria Hotel, in the very busiest part of the city. Close by our
hotel were such world-famed shops as 'Watson and Co.,' 'Kelly and
Walsh,' etc.; a short distance down the street were the Postoffice
and the Supreme Court buildings. The respectable English residents
of Hong Kong cannot go about the streets of the city without
seeing these places; there are draper-shops and other places
visited daily and hourly by respectable foreigners and natives,
occupying the ground floor of these brothels. The fine new
building of the Girls' High School, under the management of the
Government, is within five minutes' walk; yet all these brothels
are glaringly numbered, as registered by the city, in huge figures
eight or ten inches high, of red on a white background, painted
on the doors of the stairways leading to the second story of the
buildings occupied by these shops. The school children cannot pass
by without noting these officially numbered houses, and seeing
the girls sitting at all hours of the day and into the night
conspicuously in the balconies over the shops of drapers, grocers,
tailors, silk-merchants, shoe-dealers, &c., &c., and often hearing
them calling to each other from house to house, and to the men in
the public streets below. Mrs. Andrew, when in the street, March
2nd, saw a group of these slave-women calling down to three
policemen, who were looking up and laughing at them. These are
daily sights."

The unblushing parade of forms of vice, which have been manufactured
in the Orient especially to meet the demands of renegade members of
Christian civilization, can be seen in a peculiarly painful and brazen
form in the city of Hong Kong.

While we were at Hong Kong, there occured a great celebration in honor
of the repair and rededication of an important Buddhist temple.
There was a grand procession, and many thousands of Chinese from the
mainland came over to witness the celebration. The parade formed in
the early morning and went at once to the residence of the Governor to
do him honor, after which it marched through the principal streets of
the city. It was a curious, interesting, and withal a painful sight,
in some regards not unlike industrial parades in our own country. At
night we saw something totally unique and difficult to describe to
those who have not witnessed the same in China. Men bore aloft great
dragons and fishes innumerable, of all sizes and shapes, (but very
true to life), given a natural color and lighted up within, like
Chinese lanterns. These were held aloft on the ends of long poles, and
as the men who carried them were invisible, because of the darkness,
and trod noiselessly because of bare, or merely sandaled feet, the
impression was of an immense train of these creatures floating or
swimming silently through the air.

The procession was made up of men of all sorts and kinds. Great fat
men with enormous fans panted along, and little boys ran by their side
with stools upon which they gravely seated themselves whenever
the line of march was halted for a moment. Little boys progressed
painfully along with the rest, walking on their hands, with their feet
thrown up into the air, or spinning along on all fours like wheels,
or going through various other antics. And, contrary to anything that
could have happened away from the open ports of China, there were many
women in the parade, and girls too. They were on horseback, in sedan
chairs, borne on wheeled platforms, like our "Goddess of Liberty"
representations on the Fourth of July; walking, and sometimes riding
on bullocks. We counted 150 women in all. These were dressed and
painted up in such a style that a single glance showed they belonged
to the disreputable class, and their old "pocket-mothers," were to
be seen walking along close to them and keeping a sharp lookout over
their gaudily dressed slaves. Yet more painful was the sight of
the little girls, bound to heavy wires and placed in all manner of
contortions. Here was a girl about sixteen, standing cross-legged on a
moving platform, holding a spear in each hand, the spears crossed in
front of her breast, and a little girl dangling from each spear-point.
So it appeared, but in fact all were well wired into the distressing
shape they occupied, and it was said that none of them could have
endured the position for a moment but for plentiful doses of opium.
Next passed a girl standing on the moving platform, holding a spear at
arm's length, and a three-year-old girl standing on its point. Then a
little boy holding a long rod from which was suspended a tiny child. A
girl passed sitting on a stool and holding a sword by its point with
a child of four suspended from its handle, and next a girl holding a
sword by its handle, and the child suspended from its point. One
girl sat playing a flute held up high in the air, and a girl of six
appeared to be suspended from it. One poor little thing was borne high
up in the air, astride a turning-pole, with legs well crossed beneath
the pole. And then there came along a little girl swaying about on the
end of a long pole carried by men in the procession. We were on the
second floor of a great verandah of the hotel, and the child swung so
close to us, that we started forward toward her with a cry of pity.
Great tears were rolling down her cheeks, and she seemed to look
straight into our eyes, and attempted a sickly smile at our
expressions of pity.

Later, after the procession of fishes, we sat in company with two
Chinese ministers of the Gospel who came to call upon us, and
discussed in sadness the scenes of the day. They said, if we had
understood the native language and joined in the procession, as they
did at times, we would have heard the old "pocket-mothers" and other
owners of these girls driving bargains for their sale, temporarily
or permanently, with the men of the crowds. These native Christians
marvelled that Englishmen and American men who called themselves
"Christians" could have joined in these festivities in honor of a
heathen temple, and that the Governor should have made a speech of
congratulation, with no rebuke of these scenes of inhuman torture of
women and child slaves, when the procession paused at his door. These
parades continued two or three days, always accompanied by the great
paper dragons, whether in the daytime or at night, by the noise of
deafening tom-toms, and the sickening sight of tortured slave-girls.



"Ladies, I wish to introduce to you Mr. ---- He is eager to meet you,
and I am sure you will be glad to meet him. You are working along much
the same lines. Mr. ---- I assure you, is, in fact, interested in
every good thing that is done in this City, and in every good thing
that comes this way. We all count on his sympathies. I am glad to have
the privilege of bringing you together." With this our friend of many
years, the good Doctor, withdrew to speak to another group, and we
entered into a short conversation with the white-headed old man to
whom we had been introduced. He was profuse in his expressions of
sympathy for our purity work, but somehow, we could hardly have
defined why, we were not interested in him, and soon turned away.
The occasion that gave the opportunity for his introduction, was a
missionary conference at Singapore. The man in question had explained
to us that he was not of the same denomination as the church that had
called together the reception of that evening, but that he seldom
failed to attend all such gatherings, no matter of what denomination,
because of his interest in every part of the "Father's Kingdom".

Although we were very weary, and the air was intensely close,
Singapore being only about seventy-five miles from the Equator, we
spent most of that night and of several others in company with a
Christian friend and interpreter, in the worst parts of the city; and
this, with visits to various regions during the day, gave us a pretty
clear understanding of the situation as to the matter of enforcement
or non-enforcement of the Protective Ordinance.

"On the night of February 1st, 1894, we went to Tringanu street,
and ascended to the third story of a large building. The front
windows of this upper floor were gaily lighted up by many colored
lamps, and could be seen far down the street. There was a small
opium den at the foot of the stairway, on the ground floor. On
reaching the head of the stairs, and turning, we entered a large
front room. There were bedrooms at the back of the house, to be
let to patrons of the establishment. At the opposite end of the
front room from the windows was the ever-present idolatrous
shrine. On either side of the room were elegantly-carved ebony
chairs, with marble or agate panels. Rich Chinese pictures
decorated the walls. Toward the back of the room hung the sign,
'283 Licensed Eating House.' There was a large table in the
centre of the room. Toward the front, on either side, in alcoves,
partitioned off in part from the remainder of the room, were
opium couches, with pipes and lamps ready for use. We give this
description in full, as it applies, almost without variation, to
all the others which we visited in the immediate neighborhood.
Food was furnished on order, intoxicating drinks, and opium. At
the second place, on the opposite corner of the same block, the
men told us that the place was used for the same purposes. We
asked where the women were, and they answered that it was too late
to see them, but if we would come earlier we would find them. When
asked where the women came from, they pointed down to the street
below, to the open brothels, and said there were a great number of
degraded women who lived close by; said the brothel-keepers sent
them. They said that white men as well as Chinese came to their
place. After this we walked the length of the several streets and
side-streets, in the near vicinity, and proved the truth of what
the men had told us as to the swarming numbers of degraded girls
and women.

"The next night we went to the same neighborhood, and revisited
the two places already mentioned, and others also. As we reached
the top of the stairway and passed into the front room of the
place where they had invited us to return, there was quite a
flutter of excitement, and we instantly saw that there was
a number of girls present, all very young, and several mere
children. On our left a fat, middle-aged Chinese man sat, with two
or three little girls, one in his lap and one on either side of
him, in his arms; two more were throwing something that resembled
dice on a table within the front alcove, and the rest were sitting
on the opium couches. There were ten girls in all; the two
youngest could not possibly have been more than eight years old;
only one, out of the ten, claimed to be over sixteen; we
all doubted her claim, because of her extreme immaturity of
appearance. The two youngest children were immediately sent away
by order of the fat man, who was evidently in authority. The men
explained that these girls belonged to different women who were
not their own mothers; that they came to sing and dance, and pour
wine for the patrons who came to the place. They also explained
that all these girls were brought from the brothels, and were
either already living a bad life or were being trained up for
prostitution. They were powdered heavily, had flowers and
ornaments in their hair, the upper part of the forehead made bare,
and the hair dressed elaborately, like married women (even the
very youngest children); of course they were not married, for they
were declared to be the property of the brothel-keepers, and this
manner of dress must, therefore, have been an advertisement of
their shame.

"A curious musical instrument was brought--somewhat like a
dulcimer--on which two of the girls played in succession, singing
in a high, monotonous way.

"From here we went to the first place visited the night previous,
on the opposite corner of the same block. There was quite an
excitement here when we came in. Two men and two girls were
playing on native instruments--one of the men on a sort of fiddle,
and the other on a rude guitar; the girls, one striking, in sharp
staccato fashion, a wooden perforated bowl inverted on a standard
or post, and the other a kind of cymbal; they were singing in the
same shrill, monotonous way we had heard before. We counted eight
girls here. There was a piece of unpainted tin or zinc, about
eight by twelve inches, set upon the table toward one end, with
a list of fifty names on it, and a Chinese man, who talked fair
English, explained it thus: 'These are the names of singing and
dancing girls who come here; a man looks over the list and calls
for a girl to sing or dance; then he chooses his girl.'

"We then went to a third place on the same side of the street.
Here there was a wild confusion as we reached the top of the
second flight of stairs and entered the front room, and several
young girls were hustled out through the other door and into the
little back rooms, and the list of girls' names was hurried out
of sight. The Chinese men were evidently much frightened. A bold
little girl, very smartly dressed, was put forward, who answered
our questions in a loud, brazen manner. One of our party asking
her if she could sing, she thought the statement was made that she
was not 'sixteen' (the age under which girls are supposed to be
'protected' from going into prostitution by British rule), and
shouted, 'I am _seventeen_.' We stayed only a few minutes, but
were informed that they provided opium and intoxicating liquors

We told our hostess one day that we desired jinrikshas that we might
be conveyed to the Protectorate to interview the Chief Inspector,
having heard that he desired an interview. As we were leaving the
house she detained us a moment to say, timidly: "Ladies, do pardon me,
but I feel I must caution you that that man has a very violent temper,
and it will not do in case you see anything, to criticise,--no matter
what you think. I don't wish to seem to intrude, but I know the man's
reputation as to temper, and I cannot bear to think of his having a
chance to treat you rudely." We thanked her heartily, and promised to
be doubly careful.

We knew the place. A very imposing Government building standing apart
by itself, upon which much money had been expended to give it a fine
appearance. We were soon ushered into the presence of the man who held
the same relation to the work at Singapore that John Lee holds, or at
least held the last we knew, at Hong Kong. Will you believe us, when
we tell you that to our amazement it was that same white-haired old
man to whom we had been introduced at the church gathering as such an
active Christian, "working along much the same lines as ourselves, and
at the head and front of every good work in the Colony?" To be sure we
had heard the name of this Inspector, but we had never in our remotest
conception connected it with the man the Doctor had introduced to us.
Concealing our surprise we sat down for a few moment's interview. The
man knew his lesson "like a book." We could have prompted him, had he
made a mistake in reciting it, from the State documents which we had
with us,--the same from which we have compiled the chapters of this
little book. "The work of the Protectorate is really rescue work, _and
that only_." He had lived in Singapore nearly thirty years. He said he
had disapproved of the Contagious Diseases Ordinance, when it was
in existence, but a good thing had grown out of it in the matter of
provisions for the "protection", of women. We asked, in reference to
his remark that the Protectorate was a Rescue Society, if it did not
look after men, too. He replied, "Oh yes, the coolies; all are brought
here, but the men go to the other side of the building; the women come
here." We asked if all the women came before him; he said, "Before the
Protector; but in his absence before me." We pondered on the thought
of this "rescue work" carried on by this particular Protector of whom
we had heard that he had been almost unspeakably vile from boyhood
up. He showed us a book which contained a list of all deck-passengers
coming to Singapore, who had been passed under review at the
Protectorate; they were listed by families. He then showed us a
separate list of women and girls who came alone, without families. He
had underscored with red ink the names of those in the list who had
gone into brothels. He said that suspicious cases either went to the
Protectorate Refuge, or those under whose charge they went to live
were obliged to give bonds or securities, 500 Mexican dollars was the
usual amount of the security in the cases recorded. He also showed us
the form of these bonds, both blank forms and some that had been made
out; these bonds required that the girls named therein should not be
removed from Singapore, and that the girls should be produced from
time to time at the Protectorate, upon demand of the Protector, and
within twenty-four hours. The bond was good for a specified time named
thereon. Then he showed us a book containing "_Warrants of Removal and
Detention to the Chinese Refuge_" for girls under sixteen years of
age. He also showed us little tickets (we had already seen them in a
brothel) and said these contained the number and address of the
girls, and if one of these tickets was sent back by a girl to the
Protectorate, by any hand or in any manner, the Protectorate would
immediately send for the girl and listen to her complaint. He showed
us a book of cases, and read us the story of one girl in particular,
Ah Moi, and congratulated himself on the Protectorate being at hand
to rescue this girl. We will give this case in full further on. He
repeated his assertion that he abominated the C.D. Ordinance, and said
that there were now no compulsory examinations, and no Lock Hospital,
and that the Government had nothing to do with examinations in any
form. But we replied that we had already visited the Lock Hospital,
and that there were about fifteen patients there, and asked him how
they came to be there. He said anyone could go there; that it was a
general hospital for women, and that all diseases would be treated
there; that the patients could go away at any time they wished; the
Colonial Surgeon was in charge of it. But we asked him how it happened
that the degraded women knew enough to go there in such numbers; he
said they might be ill, and any doctor in a private capacity would
send them. He had sent them, and would like to send a good many more,
when they were very ill. He told us of going over the records, for
years back, and of finding that the average of time spent in the
brothel by these girls was three years and a half, while, if they
stayed in Canton, they would be life-long prostitutes. He made much
of this point, and argued that it was better for them to come
to Singapore in order to be set free by the Protectorate, but
acknowledged that many of them became concubines (in "following a
man," as the Chinese express it). He spoke of domestic slavery in
Singapore, but declared it was slavery of a very mild sort. We asked
who came with the Chinese girls when they came to the Protectorate.
He answered, "Oh, a friend--the woman or 'mother' who owns them." We
asked if nothing could be done against these traffickers in girls; he
said they could not often get sufficient proof against them. We saw in
one of the records something about "women traffickers," and pressed
him to know why these could not be caught and banished by means of
paid detectives watching the incoming boats. He replied that it was
very hard to get evidence; the girls' own statements were not enough;
the Protectorate needed more power. When asked what powers were
further necessary, he suggested the power to punish the traffickers
of girls by simply the statement of the girls who were brought to
Singapore through fraud, or who were kidnaped. He then spoke of a drug
which was used by the women traffickers to destroy the girls' wits; he
believed in its existence and its use. He said of these cases of fraud
and kidnaping, "We can usually do nothing." We asked if a woman was
found bringing girls over and over again whether she could not be
prosecuted: he answered that she might be. We then asked if the
Protectorate had ever prosecuted: he replied, "Oh yes, a few times."
But he grew uneasy under these questions; said no one could know or
appreciate the present situation who did not know the conditions
of the things in the past, but now he thought they had the best
arrangement possible for protecting the women and girls, and
exclaimed, "But if this ordinance were abolished I do not know what
would become of them." He confessed at the close of our talk that he
would like to speak freely to us about certain things connected with
the work which could not be mentioned publicly, and said there were
"perplexities--great perplexities." Yet at the beginning of the
conversation, when speaking of the criticism passed upon the
Protectorate's work, he had said, "Why do they not come here for
information instead of going about criticising? our books are all
open to public inspection." But we had noticed that throughout the
interview he kept the books in his own hands, and only allowed us to
see what he himself turned up for our inspection.

Now as to some of this official's statements--we deal with them, not
with the object of criticising his _personal_ opinions and views and
statements, but as an _official_ representation to us of a Government

To begin with, he had told us two absolute falsehoods, at least. One
was that there was no Lock Hospital at Singapore, whereas we had
visited this Government institution and by careful inspection found it
was used for _the one purpose only_, having no equipment for any other
uses, and there were fifteen prostitutes there. When confronted with
this knowledge, which, remembering our hostess' caution as to his
temper, we expressed as gently as possible, he then declared it was
a general hospital, which it was not. He declared there were no
compulsory examinations, and that the Government had nothing to do
with examinations in any form. We thought it wisest not to give him
the information that we held at that time, and hold to the present
day,--dozens of papers of committment to the Lock Hospital for
compulsory examinations both in his own handwriting and in that of
the Protector. And some of these cases, as the records we have copied
show, were those of perfectly innocent girls, acknowledged to be
virgins, until assaulted by these abominable medical officials and
robbed of the fresh bloom of maidenly chastity.

The official spoke of the work of the Protectorate as "Rescue work,
and that only," in so far as it dealt with women. But it must be borne
in mind that the "Protector" of women and girls was likewise the
Registrar of brothels; and that the rules and regulations under the
Women and Girls' Protection Ordinance provided, in both Singapore and
Hong Kong, for every detail in the management of brothels, even to the
granting of a permit to keep a brothel, and the description of the
"duties" of brothel-keepers. Surely this part of the Protector's
work cannot be called "Rescue work," as we are accustomed to use the

According to the Annual Report of the Protectorate for 1893, 1,183
women and girls entered brothels with the sanction of the Protector;
and quite apart from any discussion of whether this sanction should
have been given or not, it is quite apparent that this also was not
"Rescue work."

During the same year 1,034 women and girls left the brothels of
Singapore, and it is apparent that we must look among these mainly for
rescued cases. Of this 1,034 the following account is given:

Absconded 63
Died 21
Gone to "Private Houses" 346
Married 69
To be accounted for 451

We have an explanation in the Protector's own words of what is meant
by a girl who has "absconded." "It is common now, when an owner
notices one of her girls contracting a continued intimacy with a male
visitor (and therefore to be suspected of an intention to apply to our
office for release), for the owner to sell the girl away to another
country. When this has been accomplished, the brothel keeper reports
the prostitute has absconded, and, if we cannot prove the contrary, we
are obliged to accept the story and strike the name off our books."
What would we think in America of a "Rescue work, and that only," with
all the advantages of Government backing; under constant surveillance;
every girl registered; that permitted 63 girls in a year to be
defeated in their desire to marry by being sold as slaves into foreign
parts; that allowed 346 of the girls to "go to private houses," as
domestic slaves or concubines; that did not account at all for 451
girls; and saw only 69 married; and all this out of 1,034 cases it had
absolutely within its control?

The Inspector spoke of the _personal tickets_ given into the hands of
each girl, which if sent to the Protectorate at any time, would secure
a hearing for her before the Protectorate. It is also declared that
notice is posted up in every brothel in a conspicuous place, that no
girl can be detained against her will. We visited a place on Fraser
Street the night of February 2nd; quoting from our journal:

"There was a middle-aged woman in charge, with a baby beside her
on the couch where she was sitting. There were six girls present,
the oldest barely sixteen years old in appearance, and one between
fourteen and fifteen--a thin, immature little creature. We asked
about this young girl, and one of our interpreters overheard the
keeper instruct her to say she had been in the house two years.
Then we asked the girl her name, and the keeper told her to tell
us a different name from the one she first gave us. We saw hanging
on the wall, a black bag, which we were allowed to take down and
examine. It contained a board eight by ten inches square, on which
was pasted a paper bearing a list of the inmates. The list was
headed by the keeper's name, Moo Lee, in writing. Then was printed
across the top in Chinese characters a statement that inmates
could not be confined against their will. (The question was
whether, in our absence, the girls would be allowed to take this
bag down, open it, and read the sentence of liberty inside.) We
showed this to the girls, and asked them if they could read the
Chinese written thereon, and they all, even to the brothel-keeper,
said they could not. We then asked them what was the _meaning_ of
the words, and none of them could tell. One girl said, 'We cannot
read them, but the great man at the Protectorate can read them.'
We asked them if they had tickets, and they showed us little
square pieces of paper exactly similar to one which we hold in
our possession. The tickets were all so blurred that the educated
Chinese gentleman who accompanied us tried in vain to make out its
full meaning. It is by means of these things, put in the hands of
Chinese women who are utterly unable to read a word of Chinese,
that their liberty is professedly given them."

Now as to the case of Ah Moi, of whom the Inspector spoke as
illustrating the beneficent work of the Protectorate. He had little
idea how much we knew of the case or he would never have brought it
up. There is at Singapore a Refuge for girls, managed by the Chinese
Society, the Po Leung Kuk, organized originally at Hong Kong and
Singapore to put down kidnaping. The Inspector one day, January 4th,
1894, sent a girl of fifteen over to the Refuge with a note to the
Matron, and on the following morning, ordered her sent to the
Lock Hospital for examination. We saw the recorded result of that
examination in the handwriting of the doctor at the hospital, and it
was to the effect that the girl was suffering from disease due to
vice. After that the Matron got a note from the Inspector saying: "Ah
Moi can be written off your books, as she has been sent to hospital,
and after she leaves hospital she intends going to a house of

Now the rules forbade all religious instruction, or any sort of
instruction in this Refuge, since the Chinese men who contributed
to its support were opposed to women being taught anything. But the
Matron had threatened to leave if she could not teach and train the
girls. So she was allowed, out of her own slender salary, to hire a
teacher on her own account, and this she did. The good Christian man
whom she had hired came and told her he had learned that Ah Moi was
a good girl, and was from a Mission School in Canton, and finally he
brought the girl's own mother, who testified that this was true. We
have not space to go into this story in detail, but we later visited
the school at Canton from which the girl had been brought, talked with
the teachers who had had her under their care for years, and it was
literally true,--that she was a perfectly pure girl (and how could she
have been suffering from such a disease?), who had been entrapped for
such a dreadful fate. She would have been put into a life of shame by
the Inspector, never to have escaped her terrible servitude, probably,
but for the energetic efforts of this Chinese Christian man and the
Refuge Matron, who rescued her from the Protectorate and its wicked
business of assigning girls to brothels. And here sat the Inspector,
telling us this story, of which we knew so much, (and learned more at
Canton later), as an instance of the "rescue work" of his office!

Almost the last day of our painful work at Singapore had come. We had
gathered much evidence, and had good hope that something could be
done with it in London. "This is my birth-day," one of us said to the
other, as we spun along in our jinrikshas toward the Refuge. "I think
we ought to have some unusual good fortune in gathering information
today. At least we can get some of these little children taken out of
their terrible peril in the brothels. The Matron of the Refuge says
she _knows_ the officials are ignorant of their presence there. They
have so often talked of their extreme care at that point. Will it not
be good to see something actually done and at once about that matter?
She was to interview the Inspector yesterday, and will report to us
today." And so we chatted on, We had been horrified to encounter in a
single night's work some thirty little girls playing about the rooms
of brothels. That at least would never be allowed. We were so glad the
law was so very strict, and we had been assured strictly enforced at
that point. It read: "Any person who receives a girl under the age of
sixteen into a brothel, or harbors any such girl in a brothel, shall
(until the contrary be proved) be deemed to have obtained possession
of such girl with the intent or knowledge in clause one of sub-section
one mentioned." This clause reads: "with the intent that such girl
shall be used for the purpose of prostitution," and the penalty,
"liability to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to a
fine not exceeding $500, or to both." If that law failed because of
what would pass as proof to the contrary, at any rate there was the
further provision that the children could be removed to places of
safety, at least to the Refuge. "A girl found living in or frequenting
a brothel shall be deemed to be a girl who is being trained for
immoral purposes." And "The Protector, if on due inquiry he is
satisfied that any girl is being ... trained for such purposes, and
that such girl is under the age of sixteen years, may ... order such
girl to be removed to a place of safety," etc., etc. The way seemed
perfectly clear under such laws, to secure the safety of the children.

At the door of the Refuge we were glad to escape from our jinrikshas
into the cool shade of the house. The Matron seemed much troubled, and
spoke of things that she had not understood previously, but now that
she had learned many things from our investigations and from her own
questioning of the girls, they had taken on a painful meaning to her.

Our hearts grew heavier and heavier as we talked together. The
Matron, said: "Why, I thought when I came here it was to do a regular
Christian work for these girls. That was my purpose, but the more I
inquire into the matter, and study over the things I am expected to do
and ask no questions, such as sending girls over to the Lock Hospital
at the Chief Inspector's request, the more I feel that I am being
worked for purposes of which I cannot approve. I cannot stay here."

At last we got to ask her about her talk with the Inspector. "What
did he say when you told him what we discovered the other night--that
little girls go freely to the Licensed Eating Houses, and live in the
brothels?" "Is it really true that the authorities have been deceived,
and did not know of this flagrant violation of the Ordinance to
protect women and girls?"

The Matron's face was sadly troubled. She gazed at us a moment
quietly, and then said:

"He told me, Why, of course he knew about those children. There were
scores of them."

"But will he do nothing about the matter?" we exclaimed.

She replied: "He said: 'What can I do? I caught a whole handful
of them once and sent them to the Lock Hospital, and had them all
examined. The doctor pronounced them all virgins, so I could do
nothing as yet, and I let them all go back.'"

We uttered exclamations of horror.

"A handful!"--did he think no more of them than of so many minnows!

And they had gone through the horrible ordeal at the Lock Hospital!

And he must leave them in the brothels yet for awhile,--until
when?--until, Oh pitiful God!--until they were all "deflowered
according to bargain." And then he might consider the advisability of
doing something.

The head reeled. We felt stilled. We must get out in the fresh morning
breeze. Something broke somewhere about the heart. We went out and
got into our jinrikshas, and went away home as in midnight darkness,
calling upon the name of our God all the way. Life on this
hell-scorched earth has never held the same happy delusions for us
since, but there is a city out of sight "whose Builder and Maker is
God." That we will seek.



During the incumbency of a certain Mayor of San Francisco a surprising
condition of things was brought into existence. There was a large
tract of land in the heart of Chinatown owned by an American family,
relatives, it is declared, of said Mayor, the passages entering
which were deliberately blocked by gates, so as to stop all entrance
excepting to patrons of the place. This section lay between Dupont
and Stockton, Jackson and Pacific streets, and included within its
enclosure Baker and New World alleys, connecting Dupont street with
Sullivan Place, which divided this tract in two. Gates were erected at
the entrance of the two alleys on Dupont street, and two gates blocked
the entrance to Sullivan Place, at the end opening upon Pacific
street. Within this region, both above and below ground, were housed
numbers of Chinese slave girls, particularly in Baker alley, where, it
is said, were placed the young girls of tender years, generally about
fifteen years old, when first brought over the water, or when first
initiated into brothel slavery, having served their apprenticeship
as domestic slaves. We are informed that fully seven-tenths of the
domestic slave girls found in Chinese homes in America--and every
well-to-do Chinese family (except Christians) keeps at least one or
two slaves--end their lives in immorality. Some of them when they
become old enough are seized by their masters as concubines, others
are sent to the brothels. Reports of conditions at Hong Kong which we
have already quoted, speak of the special celebration of the entrance
of a virgin into prostitution, and the high prices paid by patrons for
this initiation, but leave it obscure as to the nationality of the men
who initiate girls into the life of a brothel slave. But Chinese in
San Francisco do not hesitate to make the charge that Chinamen recoil,
through moral sense or superstition, from deflowering a virgin, and
that this horrible privilege is purchased at a special price by the
white, not the yellow patrons of Chinese houses of ill-fame. Baker
alley has probably been the scene of more terrible brutality of this
sort than any other part of San Francisco. Before the rubbish was
cleared away, in the oasis of a broad desert of ashes in the burned
city, we visited this region, and found carpenters busy at the work
of reconstructing brothels. The slave pen was existent again, and we
entered the gateway leading to it and gazed upon the rapidly growing
structures within. Two white men of a class called "Watch-dogs," in
the days before the fire, occupied a sort of look-out and kept guard,
more especially upon the entrance to Baker alley. This region,
so largely of American manufacture, like other sections of San
Francisco's Chinatown, was displayed, by means of Chinatown guides for
pay to tourists, who were led to believe that they were looking upon
_Chinese_ views of life. The truth is, as we have shown in previous
chapters, a display of vice is practically unknown in regions of China
uninfluenced by Western civilization. Almost any wicked man, any
tourist who would pay well, man or woman, could enter this place.
The "Watch-dogs" were kept merely to prevent the entrance of mission
workers to rescue slaves, and these "Watch-dogs" were, and always are,
American, or, at least European men, not Chinese.

There were more "Watch-dogs" than those about Sullivan Place, before
the earthquake in San Francisco,--they were to be found in many
parts, always for the one purpose,--to resist interference with the
enforcement of brothel slavery upon Chinese women. American men
undertook this part of the business, because a certain timidity in
the Chinese character when dealing with American women, and a fear of
arousing race-prejudice, unfitted the Chinaman for coping with the
American women,--Miss Culbertson, the pioneer, now sainted, Miss Lake,
Miss Cameron and Miss Davis, who have fought their brave battles for
many years, to deliver the captives from the hand of the spoilers,
often at the risk of life, unaided for the most part, unappreciated
and unsympathized with, by a guiltily ignorant Christian public, and
too often persecuted by corrupt officials. Yet they have never stood
alone, but have always had the presence of their Master, and the
sympathetic co-operation of a few ardent supporters,--Christian women,
lawyers, magistrates, and other officials.

One of the "Watch-dogs" struck Miss Lake on one occasion. On another,
a "Watch-dog" went boldly up to two policemen to whom a fugitive slave
had appealed for help, seized his prey, and without resistance from
the policemen, carried her bodily back to slavery along the public
street, in view of many spectators. At another time several of them
rushed in upon a scene of rescue, overcame the police officer, and
hurled him down stairs, dealt in the same manner with some men in
the rescue party, and then turned upon the missionary and would have
subjected her to the same treatment. She said firmly: "Do not lay a
hand upon me! I will go out by myself," and overawed, they allowed
her to walk out untouched through their midst into fresh air and to
safety. It is hardly necessary to add that the missionary did not, on
this occasion, get the poor slave.

We have already said, but it bears repeating, that white men as well
as Chinese, resort to these slaves. One rescued girl told of another
captive, bound by night to her bed and to her unwilling task. Think of
the education of the youths of San Francisco in such schools of vice
as this,--what a menace they must necessarily become to the women of
their own family and acquaintance! A young woman managed to get a
request for help sent to a rescue worker. The missionary responded
by a carefully arranged plot for the identification of the girl. It
included the understanding that when the rescuer with the officer
should enter the place, she was to have in her hands, and to raise
to her lips a handkerchief which the missionary had managed to get
conveyed to her. They entered, saw her with the handkerchief held
to her face, at the little soliciting window, but the poor girl had
endured so much that at the sight of friends she lost her nerve and
presence of mind, fluttered her handkerchief, and cried out, "Oh,
teacher!" Alas! a locked door still separated her from her rescuers,
and the plot was exposed. She was dragged back, and became lost to the
rescue party. Other girls who escaped from the den afterwards told of
the rest of the scene. Kick upon kick fell upon her poor little body,
and the enraged owner of the brothel never ceased until she was dead
and mashed almost to a jelly before the eyes of the other inmates, to
teach them a lesson of warning against trying to escape. Let us not
mourn. It was better so than to have been left alive unrescued. The
pity is that the keepers and the "Watch-dogs" hold them alive to their
task as long as they do. The angels of heaven, God's rescue party, are
not far off from such victims, nor His angels of wrath and vengeance
from such inhuman fiends. We wonder how many of the little slaves were
lifted up into a better life than this by the merciful earthquake; and
how many of their masters and outragers saw hell gape and themselves
swallowed up in the horrible earthquake,--God's deliverance or God's
judgment,--according to the character of the individual.

When the missionary enters a den, and by means of some carefully
devised scheme identifies the girl who has had conveyed to the
missionary her desire to be rescued, and attempts to take the girl,
she often screams for help, kicks, fights, bites, scratches, spits,
and sometimes swears at her liberator, but often is secretly clutching
with almost a death-grip the rescuer's hand. She will sometimes fight
at being thrust through the doorway into the street, calling lustily
for help, but whisper to the missionary, "Tell the officer to carry
me out." When once, in spite of the feigned struggle, she is carried
outside, and her pursuers are well behind in the chase, the ruse is
cast aside, and it becomes a race for dear life between the rescuer
and the rescued to make the city of refuge,--the mission home,--and
generally the fugitive gets there first. Once a rescue worker found
her girl secreted with four others in a loft, to which she had been
removed because the brothel-keeper feared an attempt at rescue. She
was so carefully guarded and watched that the poor thing dared not
signify to the missionary that she was the one who wished to be taken,
and all five struggled with equal apparent fierceness against rescue.
What was the missionary to do! She lifted her heart in the despairing
cry, "Oh, God, if ever you heard a human prayer and answered it, for
Christ's sake hear me now! Tell me which one to take!" She instantly
seized one of them, who fought savagely, and bit and scratched and
swore. Out she went with her, and all the way to the mission the girl
abused her terribly. But the instant the door closed behind them and
they were safe inside the home, she fell to the floor, seized her
deliverer's feet and bathed them with her tears, crying bitterly as
she said: "Oh, forgive me, forgive me! You know I did not mean it,
but it was the only way to do to be safe." God had guided aright. No
mistake had been made in the choice. Do you believe God did that,
reader? Try such heroic work for yourself, and you will find
a miracle-working God who seldom reveals His identity to the
self-indulgent. That rescued girl has turned out to be a wonder of
grace and of natural gifts, and is pursuing a professional career now,
after fine opportunities in training. It is worth while to save such
material, even from a slave-pen; such as she enrich the community in
which they live.

This slave-trade could not go on between Hong Kong and the United
States but for the white men who are in it, one way or another. White
lawyers defend the traffickers in court, and secure the return of
slaves by writ of habeas corpus, or by means of false accusations of
various sorts, such as of stealing. It is significant that, with rare
exceptions, the policemen seem not to have been trusted with definite
information as to the place about to be searched or raided, when told
off to accompany a rescue party, lest word be sent ahead, allowing a
chance to spirit away the girl for whom search is instituted. American
men are said to go all the way to Hong Kong to get girls and smuggle
them into the country, as better able to cope with the strict
immigration laws than Chinese. Sometimes they go a long way around to
get a girl into San Francisco,--by Victoria, B.C., through Mexico
and El Paso (Texas), and by other routes. But the price paid for the
slaves assures a good profit to the traders. Since the laws against
Chinese immigration became more stringent, the market price of these
slaves has risen to three thousand dollars, while the more beautiful
ones bring a much higher price. Judges, lawyers, seafaring men,
hirelings of the Immigration Bureau, Chinatown guides, "Watch-dogs,"
officials and policemen, have all been accused of having imbrued their
hands at different times in the slaughter of the virtue of Chinese
women through this wretched slave business, besides the white patrons
of the Chinese slave-pens. But probably none are so guilty of
complicity as the property-owners, who build the places for housing
the slaves, and make enormous profits in the business.

There seems to be a misapprehension as to the status of these Chinese
prostitutes, to which the mind recurs again and again, in spite of
careful explanations. Some imagine that only those who are rescued,
or at least those who have managed to convey word to the missionaries
that they desire to be rescued, are the literal slaves, and that those
left behind are free. Such is not the case. We have already shown that
nearly all the Chinese prostitutes at Singapore and at Hong Kong are
literal slaves, the only exception being, in fact, a small percentage
(estimated at 10 per cent by the Chinese merchants at Hong Kong),
composed almost entirely of women who have mortgaged their own bodies,
or who have been thus mortgaged by relatives, for a limited time
in payment for a debt, and who, at the end of the stated time, are
generally set free, though sometimes they find themselves in a trap
from which there is no escape. It is through the misfortune of debt,
and in countries where Chinese women are cheap, that this mortgaging
of the person takes place. Such conditions do not surround Chinese
women in America, so that this form of service in houses of ill-fame
must be correspondingly rare, and this is according to the testimony
of the missionaries. For this reason, therefore, we may rule out the
temporary servitude, and assert without fear of contradiction from
those who understand the situation, that practically all the Chinese
prostitutes in the United States are literal slaves. Some are
_willing_ slaves, some _unwilling_; and a small fraction of the
unwilling slaves have managed by stroke of good fortune, and because
of unusual courage, to get a request conveyed to a mission, and thus
in some instances they have secured their freedom. But not all who
have appealed for help have been rescued, for they cannot always be
found upon search, and often, when they have been found and their
cases brought up in court, they have been again consigned to the care
of their former owners because courage has failed, and they have
refused in open court to acknowledge that they wished to go free.
One girl who desired to escape fell under suspicion, and her master
decided to remove her to Watsonville, and so defeat her rescue. At the
San Francisco Ferry Station she made a dash for liberty, pursued by
the two men who had her in charge, and ran to a policeman, handing him
a crumpled piece of paper, which proved to be a note that a missionary
had placed in her hand when she landed in America. The officer could
not read the note, in its old and crumpled condition, but divining its
nature he hailed a cab and drove with the girl straight to the mission
door, where she was welcomed.

There were at least five hundred Chinese brothel slaves in San
Francisco before its destruction, and none in Oakland up to that time.
Since the calamity, there have been many in Oakland. They have been
estimated at as high a figure as 300, and must have numbered until
quite recently at least 150. The frontispiece represents a structure
erected for their housing. This building is three stories high, and
occupies every foot of one-half square. It contains more than 600
rooms, and is built throughout of rough boards, one inch thick, on
flimsy beams and studding. It is unlathed and unplastered, a veritable
fire-trap, within four blocks of the County Court House. It could
never have passed inspection had it been erected for _decent_
purposes. When the photograph was taken the building was not
completed. A row of shops has been added at the left, over which is a
large Chinese theatre. A respectable Chinese man of literary pursuits
informed us that the theatre was "to attract custom there." A very
broad stairway, scarcely less imposing than the front entrance to the
theatre, leads down into the alley, and to the brothel. The seats for
women in the theatre are reached by a special door leading to this
alley. The heart of this building is approached through "Washington
Place," an alley, at the entrance of which one encounters a sign, "No
White Men Admitted Here, Only Chinese." This notice, which has been
put up at the entrance of Oriental brothels in Chinatown, has been
ordered by the Chief of Police, it is claimed, to prohibit Americans
associating with Orientals in vice, so as to prevent demoralization
and race quarrels. We do not dispute the motive, but the _effect_
is, that those who would work for the rescue of slaves are kept at a
distance, and no one who is likely to make a complaint against abuses
and law-breaking can approach the place without permission from
the police, which gives ample opportunity for getting everything
objectionable out of sight. As far as prevention of the commingling
of the different races is concerned, that may be hindered at certain
points, but American men are on the inside track here, as to making
money through these slaves. The building has been erected and is
owned by Americans, and one man of European name is a partner in the
immediate management of the place. On our first visit to this building
we were informed on reliable information that there were 125 Japanese
and over 50 Chinese girls in the place, and 100 more were expected to
arrive within a few days. Besides these, there are also Chinese slaves
in almost every Chinese settlement throughout the United States. In
California, they are to be found largely at San Francisco, Oakland,
Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Jose, Watsonville,
Monterey and Los Angeles. Willing or unwilling, the Chinese prostitute
is none the less a slave, bought and sold at pleasure from one to
another, earning wealth for others and never for herself. Recently,
three girls who were taken from a den in San Francisco, declared that
they had been sold for three thousand dollars apiece to the keeper,
and that they were flogged when their earnings for the keeper fell
below three hundred dollars each a month. If the prostitute were not
willing to be a slave, that would not procure her liberty,--it would
only procure her more abuse than the willing slave. On the ship
coming over, the slaves are well drilled in their task on arrival, of
swearing themselves into slavery, and well threatened if they dare
to disobey. Then they are packed with stories as to the terrible
character of Americans, particularly the rescue workers. One Chinese
girl concluded she would take all the abuse of the rescue home rather
than forego a chance for liberty, though she knew of no reason to
disbelieve the fearful warnings she had received. On the first night
of her arrival she did not undress nor go to bed when the other girls
retired. Someone found her standing about, and asked her why she
was not off for bed. She replied pathetically: "I am waiting for my
beating." She had been informed that it was in that fashion all the
girls were put to bed each night. At a very conservative estimate,
there are not less than one thousand Chinese brothel slaves in
California alone, besides those in the Chinese settlements all over
the United States. When children are born to Chinese prostitutes, they
are seized by the brothel keepers as their own property, the girls
being sold into domestic slavery to be passed on into brothel
slavery at the age of about 15, and the boy babies sold for a good
price--several hundred dollars--to become "adopted" sons. Very many
Chinese men of the United States secure their wives by purchase from
brothels, and as a consequence often have no children by them, hence
the high value of a child who can be purchased for a son. The real
wife and family of the Chinese man generally remain in China, the
matrimonial relations of the man in America being wholly spurious.
This admixture of the brothel element with all Chinese home life in
the United States makes this country very undesirable as a residence
for virtuous Chinese women, and largely discourages the immigration of
respectable Chinese wives, whose presence with their husbands might
greatly tend to the uplifting of the entire Chinese community.

There are probably as many domestic slaves as brothel slaves among the
Chinese of the United States. Every well-to-do heathen Chinese family
keeps a slave or two, and the rich Chinese keep a large number.
Polygamy is practiced, as at Hong Kong, to a larger extent than
prevails generally in China, and it is not uncommon to find a Chinese
in California with from five to seven concubines. The Chinese man
in the United States takes his domestic slave, if he wishes, for a
concubine, or sells his concubines into brothel slavery, if displeased
with them, or wishing to raise a sum of money. It is a burning
disgrace to the United States that this polygamy is not stamped out.
In one case related to us, a girl was taken from a rescue home by a
writ of habeas corpus, and returned by the judge to her position as
second wife of a Chinaman.

During President Hayes' administration, Mr. D.H. Bailey, United States
Consul-General at Shanghai, sent a message to him relating to Chinese
slavery, and the menace to our country from it. He enclosed in his


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