Friday, February 6, 2015

The Mann Act Versus the State of Nevada

In response to my preceding post, wherein I proposed that Feminists furnish free sex on Saturday afternoons to attenuate the sufferings of the involuntary celibate, some people suggested that Men's Rights Advocates (or other Manosphere entities) organize charity mission trips, twice a year, and rent a bus to bring involuntarily celibate men to some of the rural counties in Nevada that have legal brothels.


Aside from the fact that a lot of involuntarily celibate men might like more than two refreshments per year (which is all that a lot of married guys get), this solution would only be guaranteed to work for men who reside in Nevada.  A road trip that brought men from outside Nevada into Nevada's delightful brothels would risk running afoul of the nefarious White Slave Traffic Act (a.k.a. Mann Act), and thus contribute to the overcrowding problems in federal prisons, where the previously celibate would find themselves at high risk for rape and sexual abuse.  

During the first decade of the twentieth century, attitudes towards legal prostitution began to harden, as news-media outlets (in order to sell newspapers to prurient readers) made somewhat sensationalized reports on the "White Slave Traffic."  In The Response to Prostitution in the Progressive Era, Mark Connelly wrote:
Books and pamphlets appeared announcing a startling claim: a pervasive and deprave conspiracy was at large in the land, brutally trapping and seducing American girls into lives of enforced prostitution, or "White Slavery."  These White Slave narratives, or White Slave tracts, began to circulate around 1909...The plots were strikingly uniform.  Typically, a chaste and lovely native American country girl would forsake her country home and family for the promise of the city.  On the way, or shortly thereafter, she would fall victim to one of the swarm of panderers lying in wait for just such an innocent and unprotected sojourner.  Using one of his vast variety of tricks--a promise of marriage, an offer of assistance in securing lodging, or if these were to no avail, the chloroformed cloth, the hypodermic needle, or the drugged drink--the insidious white slaver would brutally seduce the girl and install her in a brothel, where she became an enslaved prostitute.  Within five years she would end up in the potter's field, unless she had the good fortune to be rescued by a member of one of the dedicated groups fighting White slavery.  
One example of such literature is Ernest A. Bell's Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls or War on the White Slave Trade (available on line).  It is quite a lengthy book, but here is a brief sample from page 71:
One thing should be very clear to the girl who comes up to the city, and that is that the ice cream parlor is likely to be a spider's web for her entanglement.  This is perhaps especially true of those ice cream saloons and fruit stores owned by foreigners.  Scores of cases are on record where young girls have taken their first steps towards "white slavery" in places of this character.  And it is hardly too much to say that a week does not pass in Chicago without the publication in some daily paper of the details of a police court case in which the ice cream parlor of this type is the scene of a regrettable tragedy.  The only safe rule is to keep away from places of this kind, whether in a big city like Chicago or in a large country town.  I believe that there are good grounds for suspicion that the ice cream parlor, kept by the foreigner in a large country town, is often a recruiting station, and a feeder for the "white slave" traffic.  It is certain that this is the case in the big city, and many evidences point to the conclusion that there is a kind of free-masonry among these foreign proprietors of refreshment parlors which would make it entirely natural and convenient for the proprietor of a city establishment of this kind, who is entangled in the "white slave" trade, to establish relations with a man in the same business and of the same nationality in the country town...
And, politicians (trolling for votes) soon got into the business of creating laws to make prostitution illegal.  Writes Emma Goldman in 1910:

OUR REFORMERS have suddenly made a great discovery – the white slave traffic. The papers are full of these “unheard-of conditions,” and lawmakers are already planning a new set of laws to check the horror... 

...To assume that the recent investigation of the white slave traffic (and, by the way, a very superficial investigation) has discovered anything new, is, to say the least, very foolish. Prostitution has been, and is, a widespread evil, yet mankind goes on its business, perfectly indifferent to the sufferings and distress of the victims of prostitution. As indifferent, indeed, as mankind has remained to our industrial system, or to economic prostitution...

...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, thus driving thousands of women and girls into prostitution. With Mrs. Warren these 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...

...Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors. Thus it is merely a question of degree whether she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage, or to many men. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.

Just at present our good people are shocked by the disclosures that in New York City alone one out of every ten women works in a factory, that the average wage received by women is six dollars per week for forty-eight to sixty hours of work, and that the majority of female wage workers face many months of idleness which leaves the average wage about $280 a year. In view of these economic horrors, is it to be wondered at that prostitution and the white slave trade have become such dominant factors?...

...Of course, marriage is the goal of every girl, but as thousands of girls cannot marry, our stupid social customs condemn them either to a life of celibacy or prostitution. Human nature asserts itself regardless of all laws, nor is there any plausible reason why nature should adapt itself to a perverted conception of morality...

...Girls, mere children, work in crowded, over-heated rooms ten to twelve hours daily at a machine, which tends to keep them in a constant over-excited sex state. Many of these girls have no home or comforts of any kind; therefore the street or some place of cheap amusement is the only means of forgetting their daily routine. This naturally brings them into close proximity with the other sex. It is hard to say which of the two factors brings the girl’s over-sexed condition to a climax, but it is certainly the most natural thing that a climax should result. That is the first step toward prostitution. Nor is the girl to be held responsible for it. On the contrary, it is altogether the fault of society...

...Willful shutting of eyes and ignoring of the evil as a social factor of modern life, can but aggravate matters. We must rise above our foolish notions of “better than thou,” and learn to recognize in the prostitute a product of social conditions...As to a thorough eradication of prostitution, nothing can accomplish that save a complete transvaluation of all accepted values especially the moral ones – coupled with the abolition of industrial slavery
The federal government wanted to get into the act of fighting White Slavery and prostitution, too, but couldn't directly, because laws regulating prostitution per se were under the jurisdiction of the individual states.  But, the federal government does have a role in regulating inter-state commerce.  So, the Great White Fathers in Washington passed into law the White-Slave Traffic Act (a.k.a. the Mann Act) on June 25, 1910.
The Act's original wording is as follows:
Chapter 395-An Act to further regulate interstate and foreign commerce by prohibiting the transportation therein for immoral purposes of women and girls, and for other purposes.

[Public, No. 277]
Be it enacted by the Senate and House o Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assemble That the term "interstate commerce," as used in this Act, shall include transportation from any State or Territory or the District of Columbia to any other State or Territory or the District of Columbia, and the term "foreign commerce," as used in this Act, shall include transportation from any State or Territory or the District of Columbia to any foreign country and from any foreign country to any State or Territory or the District of Columbia

SEC 2
That any person who shall knowingly transport or cause to be transported, or aid or assist in obtaining transportation for, or in transporting, in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or in the District of Columbia, any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, with the intent and purpose to induce, entice, or compel such woman or girl to become a prostitute or to give herself up to debauchery, or to engage in any other immoral practice; or who shall knowingly procure or obtain, or cause to be procured or obtained, or aid or assist in procuring or obtaining, any ticket or tickets, or any form of transportation or evidence of the right thereto, to be used by any woman or girl in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or the District of Columbia, in going to any place for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, or with the intent or purpose on the part of such person to induce, entice, or compel her to give herself up to the practice of prostitution, or to give herself up to debauchery, or any other immoral practice, whereby any such woman or girl shall be transported in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or the District of Columbia, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment of not more than five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court

SEC. 3
That any person who shall knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce, or cause to be persuaded, induced, enticed, or coerced, or aid or assist in persuading, inducing, enticing,or coercing any woman or girl to go from one place to another in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or the District of Columbia, for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, or with the intent and purpose on the part of such person that such woman or girl shall engage in the practice of prostitution or debauchery, or any other immoral practice, whether with or without her consent, and who shall thereby knowingly cause or aid or assist in causing such woman or girl to go and to be carried or transported as a passenger upon the line or route of any common carrier or carriers in interstate or foreign commerce, or any Territory or the District of Columbia, shall be deemed guilty of a felony and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

SEC. 4
That any person who shall knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any woman or girl under the age of eighteen years from any State or Territory or the District of Columbia to any other State or Territory or the District of Columbia, with the purpose and intent to induce or coerce her, or that she shall be induced or coerced to engage in prostitution or debauchery, or any other immoral practice, and shall in furtherance of such purpose knowingly induce or cause her to go and to be carried or transported as a passenger in interstate commerce upon the line or route of any common carrier or carriers, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

SEC. 5
That any violation of any of the above sections two, three, and four shall be prosecuted in any court having jurisdiction of crimes within the district in which said violation was committed, or from, through, or into which any such woman or girl may have been carried or transported as a passenger in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or the District of Columbia, contrary to the provisions of any of said sections.

SEC. 6
 That for the purpose of regulating and preventing the transportation in foreign commerce of alien women and girls for purposes of prostitution and debauchery, and in pursuance of and for the purpose of carrying out the terms of the agreement or project of arrangement for the suppression of the white-slave traffic, adopted July twenty-fifth, nineteen hundred and two, for submission to their respective governments by the delegates of various powers represented at the Paris conference and confirmed by a formal agreement signed at Paris an May eighteenth, nineteen hundred and four, and
adhered to by the United States on June sixth, nineteen hundred and eight, as shown by the proclamation of the President of the United States, dated June fifteenth, nineteen hundred and eight, the Commissioner-General of Immigration is hereby designated as the authority of the United States to receive and centralize information concerning the procuration of alien women and girls with a view to their debauchery, and to exercise supervision over such alien women and girls, receive their declarations, establish their identity, and ascertain from them who induced them to leave their native countries, respectively; and it shall be the duty of said Commissioner-General of Immigration to receive and keep on file in his office the statements and declarations which may be made by such alien women and girls, and those which are hereinafter required pertaining to such alien women and girls engaged in prostitution or debauchery in this country, and to furnish receipts for such statements and declarations provided for in this act to the persons, respectively, making and filing them.

Every person who shall keep, maintain, control, support, or harbor statements of alien in any house or place for the purpose of prostitution, or for any other immoral purpose, any alien woman or girl within three years after she shall have entered the United States from any country, party to the said arrangement for the suppression of the white-slave traffic, shall file with the Commissioner-General of Immigration a statement in writing setting forth the name of such alien woman or girl, the place at which she is kept, and all facts as to the date of her entry into the United States, the port through which she entered, her age, nationality, and parentage and concerning her procuration to come to this country within the knowledge of such person, and any person who shall fail within thirty days after such person shall commence to keep, maintain, control, support, or harbor in any house or place for the purpose of prostitution, or for any other immoral purpose, any alien woman or girl within three years after she shall have entered the United States from any of the countries, party to the said arrangement for the suppression of the white-slave traffic, to file such statement concerning such alien woman or girl with the Commissioner-General of Immigration, or who shall knowingly and willfully state falsely or fail to disclose in such statement any fact within his knowledge or belief with reference to the age, nationality, or parentage of any such alien woman or girl, or concerning her procuration to come to this country, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than two thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

In any prosecution brought under this section, if it appear that any such statement required is not on file in the office of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, the person whose duty it shall be to file such statement-shall be presumed to have failed to file said statement, as herein required, unless such person or persons shall prove otherwise.  No person shall be excused from furnishing the statement, as required by this section, on the ground or for the reason that the statement so required by him, or the information therein contained, might tend to criminate him or subject him to a penalty or forfeiture, but no person shall be prosecuted or subjected to any penalty or forfeiture under any law of the United States for or on account of any transaction, matter, or thing, concerning which he may truthfully report in such statement, as required by the provisions of this section

SEC. 7
That the term "Territory," as used in this Act, shall include the district of Alaska, the insular possessions of the United States, and zone included in the Canal Zone.  The word "person," as used in this Act, shall beconstrued to import both the plural and the singular, as the case demands, and shall include corporations, companies, societies, and associations.  When construing and enforcing the provisions of this Act, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or other person, etc. acting for or employed by any other person or by any corporation, company, society, or association within the scope of his employment or office, shall in every case be also deemed to be the act, omission,
or failure of such other person, or of such company, corporation, society, or association, as well as that of the person himself.

SEC. 8
That this Act shall be known and referred to as the "White-Slave Traffic Act."
We can see straight away from the heading of the White-Slave Traffic Act that Mr. James Robert Mann (the Act's author) wasn't particularly attentive in his writing: "An Act to further regulate..."  Solomon Barrett states that "it is highly improper to introduce an adverb, adverbial phrase, or other words between the to and the infinitive verb."  John Horne Tooke describes the placement of an adverb between the to and the infinitive as a "disagreeable affectation."  Splitting an infinitive--right off the bat--is indicative of sloppy writing, particularly for a formal piece of legislation, where adherence to common rules of grammar is expected, and where disagreeable affectations should be avoided.   

Transporting a girl or woman to another state for prostitution is one thing.  Transporting a girl or woman to another state for "debauchery" or "any other immoral purpose" is wide open to interpretation.  The Act itself never did much to curb the traffic in White slaves (individual states soon after outlawed prostitution within their respective jurisdictions, anyway).  But, boy did Mr. Mann's affectatious language open a whole other can of worms.



One of the White-Slave Traffic Act's first victims was the celebrated boxing champion Jack Johnson.  In October 1910, Mr. Johnson helped a lady friend, Belle Schreiber, to open her own brothel in Chicago.  He bought all of the furniture, payed the first month's rent, and wired her money for train fare from Pittsburgh to Chicago.  Everything that Mr. Johnson did was perfectly legal at the time, except for that last bit--paying for her train fare from Pittsburgh to Chicago--which violated the freshly minted White-Slave Traffic Act.  Having developed a grudge against Mr. Johnson, Miss Schreiber became the chief witness for the prosecution two years later.

In Athanasaw & Sampson v. United States, 227 U.S. 326 (1913), the Supreme Court found the White-Slave Traffic Act to be constitutional;  that the word " debauchery " as used in the statute wasn't limited to sexual intercourse; that the Act covered actions which might ultimately lead to that phase of debauchery which consists in sexual actions;  and that the Act also extended to vices and immoralities other than those applicable to sexual actions.  Moreover, the intention of the person procuring the transportation wasn't necessarily relevant--merely sending a woman to a place (in another state) where debauchery was endemic, and where she might eventually be tempted to partake, was sufficient for a conviction:
Agnes Couch was a girl of seventeen years. She lived at Suwanee, Georgia, but, being in Atlanta in September, 1911, and seeing an advertisement by one Sam Massel for chorus girls, she applied at his office and signed a contract to appear with the Imperial Musical Comedy Company at the Imperial Theater, Tampa, Florida, as a chorus girl at a salary of $20 a week for the first four weeks and $15 a week thereafter, she to room and board in the theater. The theater was operated by the defendants, and Massel acted as their booking representative at Atlanta. After she signed the contract, Massel gave her a railroad ticket which had been provided by the defendants for that purpose.  She arrived at Tampa about 6:30 A.M. and met the defendant Athanasaw at 7 o'clock.

As to what then took place, the girl testified as follows:
"He showed me to my room and took the check to get my trunk. I went to sleep and slept until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour, one of the girls woke me up to rehearse. I went down in the theater and stayed there about an hour, rehearsing, singing, and then went to lunch in the dining room. All of the girls were there and several boys. I had never had any stage experience. At lunch, they were all smoking, cursing, and using such language I couldn't eat. After lunch, I went to my room, and about 6 o'clock, Louis Athanasaw, one of the defendants, came and said to me I would like it all right; that I was good looking and would make a hit, and not to let any of the boys fool me, and not be any of the boy's girl; to be his. He wanted me to be his girl; to talk to the boys and make a hit, and get all of the money I could out of them. His room was next to mine, and he told me he was coming in my room that night and sleep with me, and he kissed and caressed me. He told me to dress for the show that night and come down into the boxes. I went into the box about 9 o'clock. About that time, Louis Athanasaw's son knocked on my door and told me to come to the boxes. In the box where I went, there were four boys; they were smoking, cursing, and drinking. I sat down and the boys asked me what was the matter; I looked scared. I told them I was ashamed of being in a place like that, and Arthur Schlemann, one of the boys, said he would take me out. The others insisted on my staying, and said I would like it when I got broke in. I tried to go out with Schlemann, but a boy named Gilbert pulled me back, saying 'Let that cheap guy alone.' Schlemann said he would send a policeman, and in about fifteen minutes Mr. Thompson and Mr. Evans came in for me."
Athanasaw denied that he made improper proposals to the girl, and it was testified that at the preliminary hearing she did not charge him with such. In all else, however, her testimony was not contradicted, and it was supported as to the character of the house and as to what took place. Three propositions are presented by defendants: (1) the gist of the offense is the intention of the person when the transportation was procured or aided to be procured; (2) the word "debauchery," as used in the statute, means sexual intercourse; (3) the act did not intend to prohibit the transportation of women for the purpose of any other vice or immorality than that applicable to sexual actions....

...There is no allegation that the defendants brought her here with the purpose or with the intent to debauch her, but to induce her or entice her, or influence her to enter upon a course of debauchery. The term 'debauchery' is not a legal or technical term. To debauch is to corrupt in morals or principles; to lead astray morally into dishonest and vicious practices; to corrupt; to lead into unchastity; to debauch. Debauchery, then, is an excessive indulgence of the body; licentiousness, drunkenness, corruption of innocence, taking up vicious habits. The term 'debauchery,' as used in this statute, has an idea of sexual immorality -- that is, it has the idea of a life which will lead eventually, or tends to lead, to sexual immorality; not necessarily drunkenness or immorality, but here it leads to the question in this case as to whether or not the influences in which this girl was surrounded by the employment which they called her to did not tend to induce her to give herself up to a condition of debauchery which eventually, necessarily, and naturally would lead to a course of immorality sexually...

...Now it is contended that they must have had a deliberate intent to debauch her when she came here; that either one or the other intended to debauch her or to get somebody else to debauch her. Now, that term 'debauch' is used in a great many instances in the law, and the usual connection is to have carnal intercourse with; but there is no such language in this statute, nor is it the language of the indictment. The charge of the indictment in substance is that they induced or influenced her to enter into a life or condition of debauchery -- 'to induce or compel her to give herself up to debauchery.'"

The language of the statute is directed against the transportation "of any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, or with the intent and purpose to induce, entice, or compel such woman or girl to become a prostitute or to give herself up to debauchery, or to engage in any other immoral practice."

The instructions of the court were justified by the statute. It is true that the court did not give to the word debauchery or to the purpose of the statute the limited definition and extent contended for by defendants, nor did the court make the guilt of the defendants to depend upon having the intent themselves to debauch the girl or to intend that someone else should do so. In the view of the court, the statute had a more comprehensive prohibition, and was designed to reach acts which might ultimately lead to that phase of debauchery which consisted in "sexual actions."...

...The court put it to the jury to consider whether the employment to which the defendants called the girl and the influences with which they surrounded her tended "to induce her to give herself up to a condition of debauchery which eventually and naturally would head to a course of immorality sexually." That question, the court said, the jury should determine, and further:

"You have heard the testimony in the case in regard to the circumstances in which she was placed. You have viewed the scene where she was employed. You have examined by the testimony and your observation what was the character and what was the condition or influence in which the girl was placed by the defendants.  Was or was not it a condition that would necessarily and naturally lead to a life of debauchery of a carnal nature relating to sexual intercourse between man and woman?"

The plan and place justified the instructions. The plan might have succeeded if the coarse precipitancy of one of the defendants and the ribaldry of the habitues of the place had not shocked the modesty of the girl. And granting the testimony to be true, of which the jury was the judge, the employment to which she was enticed was an efficient school of debauchery of the special immorality which defendants contend the statute was designed to cover...
Note that nothing illegal ever happened in Florida.  Miss Couch was kissed and caressed, but she was not raped, did not work as a prostitute, and her virtue remained in tact.  If Miss Couch had not been transported from Georgia to Florida, then there would never have been a case to prosecute.  In Florida, her modesty was shocked by the ribaldry of the habitues, and the influences that surrounded her might have induced her to give herself up to a condition of debauchery, leading possibly to sexual intercourse with a man.  And, that was enough for a prosecution under the White-Slave Traffic Act.  Oh, the federal prosecutors must have been jumping for joy at the prospect of imprisoning thousands of Americans, as were the Feminists, at this blow to the Patriarchy.  On the other hand, bringing girls to out-of-state universities must have been risky.

In Caminetti v. United States, 242 U.S. 470 (1917), the Supreme Court determined that the White-Slave Traffic Act applied not strictly to purposes of prostitution, but to other noncommercial consensual sexual liaisons, including extramarital affairs.  Briefly, Farley Carminetti, a married man, was convicted under the White-Slave Traffic Act for having aided in transporting a young woman from Sacramento, California to Reno, Nevada, for "immoral purposes."  The Supreme Court decision was as follows:
The White Slave Traffic Act of June 25, 1910, c. 395, 36 Stat. 825, applies to any case in which a woman is transported in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution or concubinage; pecuniary gain, either as a motive for the transportation or as an attendant of its object, is not an element in the offenses defined.

As so read, the act is constitutional.

When the language of a statute is plain and does not lead to absurd or impracticable results, there is no occasion or excuse for judicial construction; the language must then be accepted by the courts as the sole evidence of the ultimate legislative intent, and the courts have no function but to apply and enforce the statute accordingly.

Statutory words are presumed, unless the contrary appears, to be used in their ordinary sense, with the meaning commonly attributed to them.

When an act provides that it shall be known and referred to by a designated name, the name cannot be made the means of overriding the plain meaning of its other provisions...

...In the Caminetti case, the petitioner was indicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California upon the 6th day of May, 1913, for alleged violations of the act. The indictment was in four counts, the first of which charged him with transporting and causing to be transported, and aiding and assisting in obtaining transportation for a certain woman from Sacramento, California, to Reno, Nevada, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of debauchery, and for an immoral purpose, to-wit, that the aforesaid woman should be and become his mistress and concubine. A verdict of not guilty was returned as to the other three counts of this indictment. As to the first count, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for eighteen months and to pay a fine of $1,500. Upon writ of error to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, that judgment was affirmed. 220 F. 545...

...It is contended that the act of Congress is intended to reach only "commercialized vice," or the traffic in women for gain, and that the conduct for which the several petitioners were indicted and convicted, however reprehensible in morals, is not within the purview of the statute when properly construed in the light of its history and the purposes intended to be accomplished by its enactment. In none of the cases was it charged or proved that the transportation was for gain or for the purpose of furnishing women for prostitution for hire, and it is insisted that, such being the case, the acts charged and proved, upon which conviction was had, do not come within the statute.

It is elementary that the meaning of a statute must, in the first instance, be sought in the language in which the act is framed, and if that is plain, and if the law is within the constitutional authority of the lawmaking body which passed it, the sole function of the courts is to enforce it according to its terms...

...Where the language is plain and admits of no more than one meaning, the duty of interpretation does not arise, and the rules which are to aid doubtful meanings need no discussion...There is no ambiguity in the terms of this act. It is specifically made an offense to knowingly transport or cause to be transported, etc., in interstate commerce, any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for "any other immoral purpose," or with the intent and purpose to induce any such woman or girl to become a prostitute or to give herself up to debauchery, or to engage in any other immoral practice.

Statutory words are uniformly presumed, unless the contrary appears, to be used in their ordinary and usual sense, and with the meaning commonly attributed to them. To cause a woman or girl to be transported for the purposes of debauchery, and for an immoral purpose, to-wit, becoming a concubine or mistress, for which Caminetti and Diggs were convicted...would seem by the very statement of the facts to embrace transportation for purposes denounced by the act, and therefore fairly within its meaning.
 While such immoral purpose would be more culpable in morals and attributed to baser motives if accompanied with the expectation of pecuniary gain, such considerations do not prevent the lesser offense against morals of furnishing transportation in order that a woman may be debauched, or become a mistress or a concubine, from being the execution of purposes within the meaning of this law. To say the contrary would shock the common understanding of what constitutes an immoral purpose when those terms are applied, as here, to sexual relations...

...The fact, if it be so, that the act as it is written opens the door to blackmailing operations upon a large scale is no reason why the courts should refuse to enforce it according to its terms, if within the constitutional authority of Congress. Such considerations are more appropriately addressed to the legislative branch of the government, which alone had authority to enact and may, if it sees fit, amend the law...
Merely bringing a woman to another state, for a bit of private debauchery, became a federal felony.  Federal prosecutors must have been dancing quite merrily at this decision.

In 1986, the federal government updated the wording of the White-Slave Traffic Act to be gender-neutral, as follows:
Whoever knowingly transports any individual in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
You can now go ahead and bring a man or woman to another state with the intention of debauchery, as long as the debauchery does not involve prostitution, and as long the intended debauchery does not involve any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.  So much for Athanasaw & Sampson v. United States, 227 U.S. 326 (1913), and no-one need worry any longer about transporting a girl to an out-of-state university.  The federal government could now focus its energy and resources on imprisoning poor saps like Reverend Jack Schaap.


Rev. Schaap, as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, was boning a 16-year-old church member, apparently as part of his "counseling" sessions.  If he had just stayed with her in Indiana, then there would have been no problem: Indiana's "age of consent" is sixteen.  But, he enjoyed some intimate "counseling" sessions with her in a forest preserve, across the border in nearby Crete, Illinois, where the "age of consent" is seventeen.  That violated the Mann Act, and earned Mr. Schaap a 12-year federal prison sentence.

To get back to Nevada: the Eight Circuit Court, in United States v. Pelton, 578 F.2d 701, 712 (8th Cir. 1978), sustained the conviction of defendants who sent a woman to Nevada to work as prostitute. The court concluded that the status of prostitution under Nevada law had no bearing on the illegality (under the White-Slave Traffic Act)  of transporting women in interstate commerce for the purpose of prostitution.
...We must reject as unavailing Pelton's attempt to legitimize his agreement with Rich by arguing that prostitution is legal in Nevada and that Bray had a desire to travel to Nevada and to work there as a prostitute which pre-existed his participation in the plans. Section 2421 flatly prohibits transportation of women in interstate commerce "for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purposes"; its prohibition is not keyed to the legality or illegality of prostitution under the law of the state where the transportation ends. When Rich and Pelton agreed to send Bray to Nevada to work as a prostitute, they made an agreement to violate § 2421, and the status of prostitution under Nevada law has no bearing on the illegality of this agreement under the Mann Act.

Equally lacking in legal merit is Pelton's suggestion that any agreement he may have had with Rich was legal because Bray was predisposed and willing to go to Nevada to work as a prostitute. Whether or not Bray was so predisposed and willing is immaterial to the illegality of Pelton's agreement with Rich to violate § 2421, for consent is neither a defense to a violation charged under § 2421... Pelton conspired with Rich to transport Bray in interstate commerce to Nevada for purposes of prostitution in violation of § 2421. Whatever Bray's degree of willingness to travel may have been, it does not vitiate the illegality of the agreement to transport her for purposes of prostitution.

Count VII charged Pelton and Rich with violating 18 U.S.C. § 2422 by persuading, inducing and enticing Kathleen Bray to go in interstate commerce to Nevada with the intent on their part that she engage in prostitution there, and with thereby knowingly causing her to be transported there as a passenger upon the line and route of a common carrier in interstate commerce. In challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction on this count, Pelton does not dispute that Bray was transported to Nevada for purposes of prostitution. His attack on the sufficiency of the evidence pertains to the issue of inducement. He seems to contend that because there was evidence that Bray was willing to go to Nevada to work as a prostitute, the record will not support a finding of inducement on his part.

 We are unable to agree. Even if we assume that Bray was willing to travel to Nevada to be a prostitute, the fact remains that by setting her up at Penny's Cozy Corner, Pelton helped provide the inducement which caused her to make the trip.  It is the inducement of transportation which is prohibited under § 2422, not the actual provision of that transportation...When an offer to travel interstate for purposes of prostitution elicits a positive response from a woman to whom it is made, it constitutes a requisite inducement under the statute...The evidence here shows that Pelton made an inducement sufficient to persuade Bray to travel to Nevada. We believe that Pelton's conviction under § 2422 with regard to Bray's inducement is supported by sufficient evidence...
Licensed brothel owners in Nevada are very careful to comply quite scrupulously with all laws relevant to their business. As the Mann Act bars the transportation of prostitutes across state lines, a Nevada residency requirement for the prostitutes helps assure that they have not crossed state lines to engage in prostitution.

 Whereas the White-Slave Traffic Act, as originally written, forbade the interstate transport of women and girls for the purpose of prostitution, debauchery, or any other immoral purpose, the present version of the law forbids interstate transport of any individual, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.  Prior to 1986, you could have brought a man to another state to indulge in a bit of debauchery, engage in some prostitution, or even to work as a prostitute.  Now, you had better watch out.

The law clearly allows anyone of his own accord to travel to Nevada and there to engage in prostitution in a licensed brothel.  But, can you bring a buddy along?  Can you pay for a man to go to Nevada from another state, to savor the pleasures of a licensed prostitute?  And, can you hire a tour bus to bring involuntarily celibate men from another state for a bit of licensed refreshment?  The Law, as presently written, would seem to preclude these possibilities, and I certainly wouldn't want to risk it myself.  As mentioned above, our elected members of Congress can be rather sloppy and imprecise in their writing, and leave it to the prosecutors and judges to figure out what in blazes they meant when they wrote a particular law.  By "engage in prostitution", the Great White Fathers might have intended this to mean as a form of employment (as one engages in a business or profession).  However, as the rest of the sentence reads "or in any activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense", which clearly isn't limited to forms of employment, I think that we have to be open to the very strong probability that the courts will interpret the phrase "engage in prostitution" to mean "as either a prostitute or a customer"--particularly in light of the Athasanaw & Simpson case cited above.  I don't know whether the precise meaning of the phrase "engage in prostitution" has yet been tested in court, but I'm very certain that testing it wouldn't be worth the risk or expense.

Listen to former prosecutor Wendy Murphy's perspective in this video:

video
...Jail may just be the safest place these high end hookers have ever been...
...We don't sell access to the intimate self.  It creates the idea that human beings are no better than stuff.  Slavery is against the constitution, and has been for a long time...
...Prostitution is very close to slavery.  It is inconsistent with everything we know about what freedom means: to subject humans to market forces...
...People won't want to do things that are harmful to them...
...(addressing the prostitutes) I'm happy that you're happy.  That's terrific.  The fact that you are having a good time is not an excuse to ignore the harm...It isn't about you...I believe that the majority of prostituted women suffer harm that is so serious, I would compromise your freedom to protect the majority of women.  Absolutely....I would like to live in a world where people didn't hurt each other.  You should be ashamed of yourself...
Miss Murphy would "like to live in a world where people didn't hurt each other", but she would gleefully compromise these women's freedom?  Obviously, when it comes to prosecutors, we're dealing with sociopaths.  In fact,
  • The United States has only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prison population – making the United States the world’s largest jailer.
  • Since 1970, our prison population has risen 700%.
  • One in 99 adults are living behind bars in the U.S. This marks the highest rate of imprisonment in American history.
How on Earth can Miss Murphy imagine that by depriving prostitutes of their freedom, she would end up living "in a world where people didn't hurt each other?"   She and all of the other psychopathic prosecutors and judges are obviously living in some sort of a sick fantasy world.  As previously discussed, the problem has only been exacerbated by the large number of mean, aggressive women--with audacious feelings of entitlement--who have entered the professional world and shunted men aside.  Thanks to Feminism, women have been entering the workforce in large numbers since 1970, and, at the same time, the prison population has risen 700%.  Is it really a coincidence?

So, Feminists: we are counting on you, to attenuate the sufferings of our involuntarily celibate men, with the Free Sex Saturdays program, where there will be no risk of violating any law.  I don't see any way around it.


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  4. The Mann Act has been fixed since 1986 to only apply to criminal sexual activity. traveling to nevada to pay for sex with a prostitute is legal, because prostitution is allowed there. Without criminalized sexual activity happening, there can be no prosecution under the current Mann act.

    If said prostitute was moved out of Nevada, and THEN paid her, then he would be in violation of the Mann act.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is legal to go to Nevada to pay for sexual activity. However, bringing someone else to Nevada, from a jurisdiction where prostitution is illegal, to engage in prostitution in Nevada, would violate the Mann Act.

      Delete
  5. The Mann Act has been fixed since 1986 to only apply to criminal sexual activity. traveling to nevada to pay for sex with a prostitute is legal, because prostitution is allowed there. Without criminalized sexual activity happening, there can be no prosecution under the current Mann act.

    If said prostitute was moved out of Nevada, and THEN paid her, then he would be in violation of the Mann act.

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