chapter  VI
26 Pages

Causes of Prostitution.

I HAVE to the best of Iny ability called attention to prostitution as existing among us in the present day, by laying before the reader such facts as I have been able to gather concerning it both in this and other countries. We may now, informed as to the nature of the evil with which we have to deal, and guided by the experience gained in foreign lands, consider what measures we canbest adopt for alleviating the evils incident to it, and for checking, so far as possible, the system itself. It seems not inconvenient at the outset of such a discussion to consider the causes that produce, or tend to perpetuate, the evil state of things with which we have in the previous chapters become acquainted. Such an inquiry may at first appear superfluous, for unhappily these causes are neither few nor far to seek, and only too apparent to the most careless observer. It will, however, become evident on reflection, that a mere indistinct appreciation of them is not sufficient for our purpose, which requires a distinct and methodical statement, setting the different causes under their appropriate heads, and thus enabling us to separate those inherent to human life, and ineradicable, from those dependent on accident and circumstance, and capable of diminution, if not of removal. Practical legislation on a difficult and intricate subject, which requires careful and delicate handling, is the object before us-the more plain, simple, and unambitious the legislation, the greater chance will there be of its proving successful. Sentimental and utopian schemes must be avoided, the line between the possible and the impossible clearly drawn, existing facts and the conclusions fairly deducible from them, however painful, must be recognised, to enable us to do this, and to produce a plain, straightforward, and practical remedy, for the very serious evils depicted in my earlier chapters, we must clearly appreciate not only the effect, but the cause. I may first of all broadly stat~ the somewhat self-evident proposition that prostitution exists, and flourishes, because there is a demand for the article supplied by its agency.