The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon was a series of highly controversial newspaper articles on child prostitution that appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette in July 1885. Written by crusading editor W.T. Stead, the series was a tour de force of Victorian journalism. With sensational crossheads, such as "The Violation of Virgins" and "Strapping Girls Down", the Maiden Tribute threw respectable Victorians into a state of moral panic, and achieved, as a consequence, the implementation of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885, which raised the age of consent for girls from 13 to 16. Stead and several of his accomplices were later brought to trial as a result of the unlawful investigative methods they used (see the Eliza Armstrong Case) and Stead himself served three months in prison. Stead's reports were an early but potent example of a 'new journalism' which was not afraid of creating a 'news-event' rather than just plain reporting. According to Roland Pearsall "it was the death knell of responsible journalism"

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