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Some contemporaries questioned the idea of abduction and foreign control of prostitution through cartels.
For example, noted radical and feminist Emma Goldman asked "What is really the cause of the trade in women?
The purpose of the act was to make it a crime to "transport or cause to be transported, or aid to assist in obtaining transportation for" or to "persuade, induce, entice or coerce" a woman to travel.
Many of the changes that occurred after 1900 were a result of tensions between social ideals and practical realities.
United States (1917), which held that "illicit fornication", even when consensual, constituted an "immoral purpose." In addition to its stated purpose of preventing human trafficking, the law was used to prosecute unlawful pre-marital, extra-marital, and inter-racial relationships.
The penalties would be applied to men whether or not the woman involved consented and, if she had consented, the woman could be considered an accessory to the offense.
This term referred to women being kidnapped for the purposes of prostitution.
Numerous communities appointed vice commissions to investigate the extent of local prostitution, whether prostitutes participated in it willingly or were forced into it, and the degree to which it was organized by any cartel-type organizations.
Exploitation, of course; the merciless Moloch of capitalism that fattens on underpaid labor, thus driving thousands of women and girls into prostitution. Warren these girls feel, 'Why waste your life working for a few shillings a week in a scullery, eighteen hours a day? Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution." While prostitution was widespread, contemporary studies by local vice commissions indicate that it was "overwhelmingly locally organized without any large business structure, and willingly engaged in by the prostitutes." and Rose Livingston, took up the concerns.The American Purity Alliance also supported the Mann Act.The phrase "immoral purpose" in the statute allowed an extremely broad application of the law following the United States Supreme Court ruling in Caminetti v.The second significant action at the local level was to close the brothels and the red light districts.From 1910 to 1913, city after city changed previously tolerant approaches and forced the closing of their brothels.Although her claim was unsupported by evidence, her story exemplified the stereotypes used to pass the Mann Act—fear of foreigners, especially Chinese men; abduction and drugging in order to be raped and enslaved; a narrow escape; and salvation through Christian conversion.Other groups like the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and Hull House focused on children of prostitutes and poverty in community life while trying to pass protective legislation.This is perhaps especially true of those ice cream saloons and fruit stores kept by foreigners.Scores of cases are on record where young girls have taken their first step towards "white slavery" in places of this character.They worked in New York City's Chinatown and in other cities to rescue young white and Chinese girls from forced prostitution, and helped pass the Mann Act to make interstate sex trafficking a federal crime.Livingston publicly discussed her past as a prostitute and made the claim that she was abducted and developed a drug problem as a sex slave in a Chinese man's home, narrowly escaped, and experienced a Christian conversion.