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Journal of social hygiene (Volume 28) online

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and religious forces seeking to enhance the health and the welfare
of our people could better lend their aid in a widely extended, but
concerted attack on this dangerous and subversive condition in
our community.









Who Is Behind The Vice "Racket 11 ?

The commercialized prostitution "racket" is

promoted by the "third party" interests

who make money out of if ...

who take most of the prostitutes' earnings

. . . Grafting POLITICIANS

who get a " cut " from " the business "

. . . Dishonest POLICEMEN

who accept bribes to overlook violations of law


who sell worthless "health certificates"


who get big fees for defending prostitutes and
" third party " interests

. . . Unscrupulous LANDLORDS

who get high rents for premises used for prosti-
tution purposes


One of a set of 10 charts in the American Social Hygiene Association's exhibit
The Attack on Commercialized Prostitution. Watt display size, 17 x 22 inches,
$1.00 per set, postpaid. Miniature, for teaching and reference purposes, 8% x 11
inches, 10 cents a set, $5.00 per hundred sets, 80 cents a dozen sets, plus postage.


Chief of Police, Cincinnati, Ohio

EDITOR'S NOTE: The address published herewith was pre-
sented by COLONEL WEATHERLY at a Quarterly Police Conference
held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Cincinnati,
Ohio, on July 31, 1942, for special consideration of enforcement
of laws affecting prostitution in the vicinity of military areas.
The same subject was discussed simultaneously at approximately
350 such Police Conferences in the fifty-six field divisions of
the FBI, with about 20,000 law enforcement officials, represent-
ing 8,000 police agencies, attending. Complete willingness was
expressed to cooperate with Army, Navy, and other interested
agencies in combating prostitution. The Quarterly Police Con-
ferences are held under the FBI Law Enforcement Officials
Mobilization Plan for National Defense, and have served com-
pletely to mobilize the police of the nation for vitally important
emergency wartime duties.

Colonel Weatherly's address, presenting the practical prob-
lems in law enforcement against prostitution in a middle-west
community, will be of special interest as a companion piece to
the recommendations recently made regarding police and court
procedure by the New York City Welfare Council (see page 372)
and other articles in this issue of the JOURNAL.

Enforcement of the laws against prostitution and its
attendant vices has always been one of the most difficult
problems facing local law enforcement officers. The forces
acting to bring about and perpetuate prostitution in our
society are rooted in one of the strongest of human desires.
For centuries there has been prostitution and no doubt it will
be with us for many years to come.

It is not only because prostitution violates the law, threatens
the morals of our youth and undercuts family life, that this
vicious "racket" attacks the public safety. A serious health
problem is also involved, for prostitution is a chief means
of spread among the human race of the dangerous diseases
syphilis and gonorrhea. The "great crippler" and the



1 'great killer" are just as bad police characters as the
assaulters and the murderers with whom every police depart-
ment must deal. But criminals are easy to handle compared
with the dread germs of venereal disease.

As the war we are now in progresses, it seems more and more a
war of "shortages." Critical materials have already become scarce
and as time goes on it is becoming increasingly difficult to find
people, both men and women, to carry on all of the various activities
required by the war effort. Going from a period of over-supply
and unemployment into the present one of priorities, regulations and
control, means a radical adjustment in our thinking for all of us.
No matter what the attitude of the public has been in the past toward
prostitution, it should now be clear that if not carefully controlled
it will add to our shortages and thereby greatly hamper our chances
for victory.

It makes no difference whether the disease germs attack a member
of the armed forces, one of the workers engaged in supplying the
arms or one of our citizens. An absence resulting from venereal
disease means a shortage somewhere, and we cannot afford to have
any vacancies in front lines or home lines at this time. During
the last war the army lost the equivalent of seven million man-days
of service because of venereal infections. It makes no difference
whether a disease germ attacks one of our soldiers in training or a
bullet finds its mark on the battlefield. If a man is removed from
service, the same damage has been done, regardless of its cause.

Therefore a greater responsibility rests upon us whose business
it is to enforce the laws. Always on the alert to protect our citizens,
it behooves us now to redouble our efforts. We should look espe-
cially to that portion of our youth who, torn loose by their entry
into the armed forces from the things to which they have been
accustomed, turn more by chance than by choice to the doubtful
pleasures offered by the prostitute. Pleasure, perhaps, for a moment.
But what a price they pay for it if they come back diseased!

In these times the so-called "clandestine prostitute" is the one
who is giving us the most trouble. This is the girl who does not
conform to any general plan, as does the professional, but due to
the easy money obtainable, engages in prostitution off and on as
the spirit moves her. She is usually a newcomer to the city, often
from a small town or rural community. She may not originally
intend to be a prostitute, nor even to have intercourse with those
with whom she meets. But after a few drinks her judgment leaves
her and after a few experiences she is in fact, if not in name, a
"CP." By that time she no doubt will have contracted a venereal
disease, which she will probably pass along. Also, by that time,
she will probably have committed enough offenses to have come in
contact with the police.

The professional prostitute also gives trouble in these times, espe-
cially if she is able to work near an army camp or in a city booming


with defense workers. This is because of the greater number of
contacts she is likely to have, multiplying her chances to spread
disease. It is not uncommon for a hardened prostitute to accom-
modate as many as forty or fifty customers on a "good" day. Even
if such a girl were not infected, although most of them are, she
would probably soon become so with that kind of business. And
even if she did not, she would doubtless serve as a carrier by giving
the germs from one customer to a later one.

Here, then, is the problem. How shall this spread of disease be
prevented? In Ohio, so far as the law enforcement officer's part is
concerned, the answer is ready in the General Code, Section 13031-13.
This statute prohibits engaging in or aiding or abetting prostitution,
which is defined as offering the body in sexual intercourse for hire
or indescriminate sexual intercourse without hire or engaging in
any lewd or obscene act. All persons charged with violating this
section, then, upon order of the court, shall under the law be sub-
jected to immediate medical examination to determine if they are
infected with venereal disease. If so, the law provides that they
shall have medical treatment, at public expense if they are unable
to pay, and shall not be discharged from custody, paroled or placed
on probation until cured or rendered non-infectious, unless the court
having jurisdiction of the offense be assured that the person will
continue medical treatment.

This is not intended to be a penalty for guilt. Guilt is deter-
mined in the regular way and penalties imposed independently of
the examination. Such examination may be made by the board of
health, by a physician employed by the city or county, or by a
physician designated by the court for the purpose.

In Cincinnati a special venereal disease quarantine hospital is
maintained at the City Workhouse. It is operated by the City under
supervision of a physician in charge. All persons arrested for pros-
titution under Section 13031-13 may be referred by the court to this
hospital for inspection. If they are found to be infectious they are
treated. In addition, under the state health code, the Health Depart-
ment, through its clinic, known as the Health Center, at 212 W. 12th
St., has the power to commit diseased persons to quarantine in the
hospital after inspection at the clinic.

Our police have a close working arrangement with the health
department and cooperate with its field workers and nurses in picking
up infected persons in order that they may be given treatment.
When a case of venereal disease is discovered at the clinic or hos-
pital, the health department makes a check of the source and attempts
to trace all persons who may have come in contact with the infected
person or others infected through the same source. Our men aid
them in bringing in these persons for inspection and possible
quarantine or arrest.

In this regard, Dr. Carl A. Wilzbach, Commissioner of Health in
Cincinnati and head of the City Health Department, has this to-
say of our work:


' ' The police are carrying on a good piece of work in keeping a close watch
on places of reported exposure of venereal disease. They are assisting us
in getting the infected persons under treatment.

"I don't believe that we need to feel that prostitution is any too great a
problem here. We do need to keep up constantly the work of the police
and the work which the health department does in making it difficult for
prostitution to be carried on."

For the protection of the large numbers of soldiers quartered at
the nearby fort and for the protection of troops constantly passing
through our city, we have taken steps to cooperate with army medical
officers. As soon as possible after a soldier reports an infection
from a location in Cincinnati, this information is passed along by
the health officers and we are usually able to apprehend the women
concerned within a few days.

Col. F. V. Meriwether, Senior Surgeon for the Fifth Corps Area
(now known as the Fifth Service Command) of the U. S. Army, in
which Cincinnati is included, recently made the following statement
in a letter to our City Manager:

' ' An investigation by the undercover agent of the American Social Hygiene
Association gives a very favorable report on your city with the exception of
girls in taverns and a few other places of solicitation which would indicate
that prostitution in Cincinnati seems to be entirely confined to hustlers in
these places.

"For troops in the entire Fifth Corps Area during the past few months,
four men in this area have reported as a source of contact women residing
in Cincinnati. One solicitation was at the bus station, one at a Negro night
club, one in a restaurant and one in a large hotel."

We are quite proud of our record and believe that we are justified
in this pride as some measure of reward for the efforts we are putting
forth in attempting to keep prostitution under control. There are
no known houses of prostitution in our city and we are continually
on the alert against solicitation and streetwalking.

Last year we made 621 arrests for prostitution and commercialized
vice offenses and have averaged 610.6 for the past three years. Last
year 533 of these arrests were found guilty, giving us a conviction
rate of 85.8 per cent. We believe that this is good, in view of the
difficulty of obtaining admissible evidence for such cases. Our
conviction rate for all sex offenses except rape was 81.4 per cent,
which is well above the national average of 69.1 per cent. Add this
to the fact that we have arrested 46 per cent more persons here
for sex offenses last year than the average reported for cities over
25,000 population and it can be seen what we are attempting to
do with respect to enforcement of these laws. Our enforcement
rate last year was 157.2 persons charged per 100,000 population,
which means that we averaged almost 2 arrests (1.96) each day
throughout the year.

Last year we sent 550 prostitutes to the venereal clinic for inspec-
tion. It was necessary to detain over a fifth (22.5 per cent) of
these for quarantine and treatment because of active disease. Thus


far this year we have sent 310 women for examination. Apparently
there are fewer among them with contagious disease, a very
encouraging indication.

We in Cincinnati do not claim to be doing anything unusual.
Other police in Ohio can do likewise if given the proper adminis-
trative support and public backing. The authority has been pro-
vided by the State Code in Section 13031-13. Most local health
departments are set up to make examinations and treatment can be
arranged through various means. The federal and state governments
are also ready and willing to assist local authorities. The medical
aspects of the situation will take care of themselves when the
enforcement end is provided for.

If citizens of a community have been contented to let bad con-
ditions exist with respect to prostitution in the past, it now becomes
their patriotic duty to change their attitude and take action against
such conditions that boys in uniform stationed at various points
throughout the country or traveling to or from these point may be
protected from exploitation by prostitution racketeers and disease.
And communities should be as eager also to protect their industrial
workers, since every man-hour lost is time ahead for the Axis forces.

The Federal Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investi-
gation have indicated their willingness to aid in the stamping out
of prostitution, especially around defense and military areas. But
the control of prostitution is essentially a local problem. It should
be and can best be handled by local law enforcement authorities.
If the local police cannot handle the situation in their community
or for any reason refuse or fail to do so, then the federal government
may take over and take away from the local people the job of
policing for prostitution. The authority to do this comes from
Public Law No. 163 passed by the 77th Congress in July, 1941.
This is generally known as the May Act, and provides that prosti-
tutes, madams, procurers, panderers and owners of property used are
subject to prosecution as federal offenders.

Although able to invoke this authority whenever the secretaries of
War or Navy shall deem it needful to the efficiency, health and
welfare of the army or navy, they prefer to do so only when other
means have failed. In this connection Colonel Meriwether has stated :

' ' Our experience in the Fifth Corps Area proves conclusively that where
we are successful in closing houses of prostitution and reducing clandestine
prostitution on the streets, our venereal disease rate shows a marked decline.

' ' The subject of venereal diseases is a serious one and while we are making
some progress in control of these diseases in the military personnel, it
is still the cause of incapacitating large numbers of troops.

"We believe the local people are best fitted to control prostitution. The
May Act makes it a federal offense, takes the control from local authori-
ties and places it in the hands of the federal authorities. It has been the
policy of this Corps Area not to invoke the May Act, except as a last
resort. If the situation should become so serious in any of the defense
areas that it is deemed advisable to take such definite steps, it will likely


be promptly invoked. However, we hope to avoid such steps wherever
possible by working closely with local authorities in a mutual program of
protection of the military personnel and defense workers."

This places the job squarely in the hands of those of us who
are charged with the enforcement of law and order in our communi-
ties. In my opinion it should not be necessary for the May Act to
be applied in any Ohio areas. If federal authorities do so it will
indicate a breakdown of the local control, a failing of local officers
to accept their responsibility. Those of us who are in police work
as a profession do not want this to happen, and if I am any judge of
the profession in Ohio, it will not happen here.



When the Social Protection Section of the Office of Defense
Health and Welfare Services was established in March, 1941,
one of its main assigned jobs, in addition to protection activi-
ties, was to bring about such means of care and treatment
of the women and girls arrested and convicted for prostitution
that those who can return to acceptable modes of life will
receive the kind of help they need, suited to their individual
requirements, and that the others will be dealt with in accord-
ance to their needs and capacities. Difficult and delicate at
any time, this task at the outbreak of war became a thousand
times more so. Prostitution racketeers, taking advantage of
the concentration of men for the war emergency, began
recruiting many more women and girls for their purposes.
When arrests were made, communities were found not to have
proper facilities for detention. And the whole field of
rehabilitation of those exploited in this vicious "business"
lacked sufficient numbers of social and health workers who
knew how to go about this salvage project. The public was
generally confused and apathetic, many considered it a hope-
less task. Nevertheless the studies which official and volun-
tary agencies had been able to make pointed the way. And


when the Social Protection Section was established, it began
more extensive observations of conditions and practical pro-
cedures. Holding to the principle that while the Federal
Government can assist with plans, advice and money, nothing
really effective happens unless it happens locally, the Section
Officers started working towards its nation-wide objective
by suggesting, through its regional supervisors and repre-
sentatives, that the communities restudy their local problems,
measure their resources and draft their programs of action
to give to all those arrested particularly the women and girls
arrested for prostitution proper care and protection, fair
trials and the kind of help they need.

The brief statements which follow are instructive examples
of local studies made with these intentions.* They represent
only first steps by the communities concerned, mere back-
ground sketches. In these and other communities, because of
surveys like these, there is already a new consciousness among
social and health workers, the public is showing interest, new
groups and committees are being formed for further study
and joint effort, and local authorities have undertaken to
provide better facilities for medical care and social treatment.
The Federal Government is doing its part, through pro-
vision of new hospital facilities and detention homes. The
state health and welfare departments are helping. New state
laws for repression of prostitution and care and treatment
of prostitution's victims both women and men are being
adopted. Correlated with such activities are additional
measures for prevention of exploitation of young people
generally. All these developments are important and neces-
sary. But, each town must have in good operating order
facilities for dealing with this problem, if permanent results
are to be secured.

Community studies like these are helpful alike to the local
community and the nation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The encouragement, support and leadership of municipal
officers have been an important factor in the making and application of such
studies. The Director of Safety, L. P. Anderson, for example, specifically
mentioned in the San Antonio studies, has been an outstanding figure, together
with Mayor Harry Cain of Taeoma, in calling the nation's attention to these
community problems.




A preliminary report made by MRS. LAURA WAGGONER, Director,
Travelers Aid Service, United Service Organizations, with the cooper-
ation of Director of Safety L. P. ANDERSON, San Antonio

The following report is based upon interviews with fifty girls
made from May 20, to June 20, 1942. These interviews are the first
in a study of girls apprehended by the police for prostitution and
allied offenses which is being carried on by the Travelers Aid in
San Antonio, Texas.

Thirty-seven girls were actually receiving treatment in the venereal
disease clinic at the City Jail. Thirteen girls were arrested on
vagrancy charges, examined at the clinic, found to be free from
venereal disease and referred to Travelers Aid. This does not repre-
sent the total number of girls arrested for the period some of those
held on vagrancy charges were released before it was possible to
interview them. It was also not possible due to the lack of time to
interview all clinic girls.

Ages of Girls and Women

27 are between 14 and 20 years 5 are between 30 and 35 years

12 are between 20 and 25 years 4 are between 35 and 42 years

2 are between 25 and 30 years

The youngest is 14 years of age and the oldest 42 years of age. Eight girls
are nineteen years of age and eight are seventeen years of age. The report
does not include juvenile girls those shown misrepresented their ages, and if
detained in the clinic were referred to the Juvenile Bureau.

Sace or Color

42 are White or Anglo-American 4 are Negro

4 are Mexican or Spanish- American

Place of Residence

11 are residents of San Antonio 24 are residents of other states

15 are residents of Texas (have come into San Antonio within one year of the


Marital Status

19 are married (currently) 5 are separated from husbands

13 are divorced 13 are single (Have never been


Eight girls and women have twelve children.

2 claim graduation from high 2 finished the sixth grade
school 7 finished the fifth grade

5 have had some high school 2 finished the fourth grade

training (through the second 2 finished the third grade

year) 2 obviously low-grade mentally-
22 state they have gone as far unable to give information

as the eighth grade 3 unknown

3 finished the seventh grade


There has been no opportunity to verify the veracity of statements in
regard to education.


28 give their main occupation as 3 are laundry workers

cafe workers and honky-tonk 1 has worked in the fields pulling

hostesses corn and picking cotton

10 give occupation as prostitutes 2 have never worked
5 have done housework as their

major employment
1 has had some nurse's training and has been employed as a practical nurse


The average earning for the girls interviewed is $6.00 weekly.
This average is based upon the earnings reported for the last or
current job held. Actually the individual employment histories show
many gaps in employment. Tips were not counted in. Except for
girls who work all night, tips are negligible. Where girls work on
salary for night work, they say they earn $1.00 to $1.50 in tips nightly.
If they work on commission, they receive practically nothing in tips.

Of the ten who are experienced prostitutes one, who has been "in
the business" over twelve years, has bought a cafe and says she is
"going straight". Three are probably incapable of rehabilitation

Online LibraryAmerican Social Hygiene AssociationJournal of social hygiene (Volume 28) → online text (page 51 of 71)