It is incomprehensible that a nation whose chief boast is its free public education, that a people always ready to respond to any moral or financial appeal made in the name of children, should permit this infamy against childhood to continue! Only the protection of all children from the menacing temptations which their youth is unable to withstand, will prevent some of them from falling victims to the white slave traffic; only when moral education is made effective and universal will there be hope for the actual abolition of commercialized vice. These are illustrations perhaps of that curious solidarity of which society is so rapidly becoming conscious.
PHILANTHROPIC RESCUE AND PREVENTION
There is no doubt that philanthropy often reflects and dramatizes the modern sensitiveness of the community in relation to a social wrong, because those engaged in the rescue of the victims are able to apprehend, through their daily experiences, many aspects of a recognized evil concerning which the public are ignorant and therefore indifferent. However ancient a wrong may be, in each generation it must become newly embodied in living people and the social custom into which it has hardened through the years, must be continued in individual lives. Unless the contemporaries of such unhappy individuals are touched to tenderness or stirred to indignation by the actual embodiments of the old wrong in their own generation, effective action cannot be secured.
The social evil has, on the whole, received less philanthropic effort than any other well-recognized menace to the community, largely because there is something peculiarly distasteful and distressing in personal acquaintance with its victims; a distaste and distress that sometimes leads to actual nervous collapse. A distinguished Englishman has recently written “that sober-minded people who, from motives of pity, have looked the hideous evil full in the face, have often asserted that nothing in their experience has seemed to threaten them so nearly with a loss of reason.”