White slavery is a term that is currently used to refer to sexual slavery. It was first used in 19th century Britain to refer to prostitution of children.
The term gained particular prominence during the trial and imprisonment of William Stead (editor of the Pall Mall Gazette) for kidnapping, after he published an article reporting that he had been able to purchase the thirteen-year-old daughter of a chimney-sweep for 5 pounds in order to bring attention to the problem. The publicity generated by the case led Parliament to pass the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act that raised the age of consent from thirteen to sixteen in that year.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the term also came to mean the abduction of white girls into forced prostitution, and after about 1905 it was used for this definition almost exclusively. "White slavery" was the focus of a major moral panic in the United States at the end of the Progressive Era. Sexual slavery did and still does occur; "white slavery" is usually used to refer to this moral panic, where there was a perception that this form of abuse was a danger to every young woman.
In the United States, Chinese immigrants were particularly stereotyped and demonized as white slavers and were referred to as the yellow peril during this time. As an example of this in American culture, the musical comedy Thoroughly Modern Millie features a Chinese-run prostitution ring. The gangster movie Prime Cut has mid-West white slaves sold like cattle. In Christian Europe, on the other hand, the predominant stereotype linked the term to Arab white slave traders and Ottoman harems. The theme of a European woman kidnapped to be sold into a Muslim harem also reappears frequently in contemporary American erotic literature.
The United States White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910 prohibited so-called white slavery. It also banned the interstate transport of females for immoral purposes. Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution and immorality. The act is better known as the Mann Act, after James Robert Mann, an American lawmaker.
The trafficking in human beings still occurs as of 2008. A U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report from June 2003 stated "As unimaginable as it seems, slavery and bondage still persist in the early 21st century. Millions of people around the world still suffer in silence in slave-like situations of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation from which they cannot free themselves. Trafficking in persons is one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time."
This article is based on "White slavery" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=White+slavery&action=history