Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colors will baby people become interested–for a while at least. The “righteous” cry against the white slave traffic is such a toy. It serves to amuse the people for a little while, and it will help to create a few more fat political jobs–parasites who stalk about the world as inspectors, investigators, detectives, and so forth.
What is really the cause of the trade in women? Not merely white women, but yellow and black women as well. Exploitation, of course; the merciless Moloch of capitalism that fattens on underpaid labor [… T]hese girls feel, “Why waste your life working for a few shillings a week in a scullery, eighteen hours a day?”
Naturally our reformers say nothing about this cause. They know it well enough, but it doesn’t pay to say anything about it. It is much more profitable to play the Pharisee, to pretend an outraged morality, than to go to the bottom of things.”
From feminist icon Emma Goldman’s bad-ass 1917 response to “white slavery” hysteria.