Faculty Book: Anthony E. Simpson, ed.
Anthony E. Simpson, ed.
W. T. Stead, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon. Report of the Secret Commission
Edited with annotations and an introductory essay by Antony E. Simpson. Originally published in the Pall Mall Gazette in 1885.
(The True Bill Press, 2007)
In 1885 the crusading journalist W.T. Stead published a serialized report, The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, which documented the complexity and reach of organized prostitution in Britain and its reliance on sophisticated techniques for the entrapment of young girls. This report, reprinted here for the first time since its original publication, is thought to have provided the necessary impetus for the enactment of the most influential piece of legislation in British history relating to sexuality and its exploitation, and is a major primary source documenting Victorian attitudes toward female sexuality and its exploitation. Simpson’s annotations identify people and places mentioned by Stead. His introductory essay places Stead's work in its historical context and also addresses one section of the Act, the so-called Labouchère Amendment, which served to make consensual homosexual activity easier to prosecute in law, providing the principal legal means for harassing homosexuals for the following eighty years. Antony Simpson is a professor emeritus of criminal justice at John Jay College and the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: OCT 15, 2007