Prostitution

Published in 1913, 20th Century Social Perspectives, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Features, Issue 4 (July-August 2013), Volume 21

Above: ‘White Slavery in Dublin’. (Irish Worker, 25 May 1912)

Above: ‘White Slavery in Dublin’. (Irish Worker, 25 May 1912)

The republican trade unionist and ITGWU organiser P.T. Daly alleged that the low wages paid to the female employees at Jacob’s factory were ‘the cause of driving many of them onto the streets as prostitutes’. The Dublin Metropolitan Police estimated in 1901 that while female prostitution was decreasing there were still an estimated 1,677 women earning a living as prostitutes on the streets of the capital. There were 1,067 arrests for prostitution in 1912, 35% more than the average for the previous decade. James Larkin was shocked by the living conditions of the poor in Dublin; during one of his initial visits to the city in 1907 he wondered, ‘If Dublin men were so proud of their city, why did they not look after the little children who were running about their streets hungry and dirty, and badly clothed’. He questioned why Dubliners did not put a stop ‘to the disgraceful scenes in O’Connell Street, when fellows from the slums of London, in red uniform, were coming along with Irish girls on their arms, whom they would ruin in body and soul’.

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