The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon was a series of shocking Pall Mall Gazette articles written in 1885 by W.T. Stead about the proliferation of teen prostitution in Victorian England. Here are some
- The sale and purchase and violation of children
- The ("full operation") procuration (and "violation") of virgins ("mostly of tender age")
- The entrapping and ruin of women
- The international slave trade in girls
- Atrocities, brutalities, and unnatural crimes
One night a girl I knew came and spoke to me. "Will you come and see a gentleman?" she said. "Me see a gentleman–what do you mean?" said I. "Oh, I forgot," she says; "will you come and take a walk?" I had no objection, so we went for a walk. After a while, she proposed we should go into a house in P–– street and get something to eat. We went in, and after we had been there a little time in came a gentleman. He sat down and talked a bit, and then my friend says, "Take off your things, Lizzie." "No, I won't," I said. "Why should I take off my things?" "Don't be a fool," says she, "and do as I tell you, you will get lots of money;" and she began to undress me. I objected, but she was older than I, and stronger, and the man took her side. "Now," she said after she had undressed me, "get into bed with you." "What for?" says I, "for I had no idea what she meant." "Do as I tell you, you little fool, or I will knock you[r] head off you. This gentleman will give you lots of money, pounds and pounds, if you are good; but he won't give you a penny if you are stupid." And she half forced me, half persuaded me, to get into bed. Then the gentleman got into bed. I did not know what he wanted. I was very frightened, and was crying bitterly. Then he began to hurt me, and I yelled at the top of my voice. Madame who kept the house heard me scream, and she came running up. "Vot is you a doin to that von leetle girl ?" she asked. "Nothing," said the man; "she has only run a pin into her foot;" and my friend whispered, "Only keep quiet and you shall have it all. I will give you all the money. But mind you won't get off, no matter how you scream." Madame went away, and the man finished me. He gave me £3 (£279 today).
As sort of a side note, Stead mentioned that despite the fact that there weren't a lot of prostitutes below the age of thirteen, according to the Report of the Dwellings Commission, "There are children, many children, who are ruined before they are thirteen; but the crime is one phase of incest..."
However, there were approximately 10,000 juvenile prostitutes between the ages of thirteen and fifteen in "Christian England".
Stead was an investigative journalist and didn't restrict his investigating to mere interviews, he went into brothels to get first hand accounts of the affairs. For example, after the keeper at an upscale brothel in the West end "...strenuously denied that they had any such article in the house", Stead was introduced to "a lovely child between fourteen and fifteen, tall for her age, but singularly attractive in her childish innocence".
Stead stressed that since the age of consent was thirteen, it was extremely difficult to prosecute rapists. For instance, a fifty-year-old man "violated more than a dozen children just over thirteen, whom he had enticed into backyards by promises of sweetmeats" but wasn't prosecuted until he was "fortunately caught with a girl under thirteen, and was promptly punished."
On the advice of Dr. Lowndes, "a medical man", Stead (incorrectly) championed for an increase in the age of consent, because "so few girls are really aptae-viro, physically and medically, till long after thirteen."
As previously mentioned, many seduced teens ironically volunteered to return to prostitution due to the "promises of dress and money". Consequently, they were "...qmore difficult to deal with than women, because they are made familiar with sin while so young that the modesty that is so natural to a woman they never attain."
Part four of the report was an exposé of police corruption. Stead related that a number of policemen took bribes to look the other way, facilitated and/or partook in the services of the teen prostitutes.
Clearly, teen prostitution is still going on today and rich ephebophiles are taking advantage of the business (no pun intended) and it should be clear that raising the age of consent isn't a viable solution. Some would recommend even lowering the age of consent, but making pre-marital sex a felony. That way we would have more harems and less brothels. The fact of the matter is that ephebophiles are going to have sex with nymphets one way or the other. The only other "option" is teen pornography, which with the invention of the webcam has become the new brothel.