Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Prostitution in Constantinople

Due to European intervention during the 19th century, the Empire began to attempt to curtail the slave trade, which had been considered legally valid under Ottoman law since the beginning of the empire. A series of legal acts was issued that limited the slavery of white people initially and of those of all races and religions later. In 1830, a firman of Sultan Mahmud II gave freedom to white slaves. This category included the Circassians, who had the custom of selling their own children, enslaved Greeks who had revolted against the Empire in 1821, and some others. Another firman abolishing the trade of Circassian children was issued in October, 1854. A firman to the Pasha of Egypt was issued in 1857 and an order to the viziers of various local authorities in the Near East, such as the Balkans and Cyprus, in 1858, prohibited the trade of black slaves but did not order the liberation of those already enslaved. However, slavery and the slave trade in Ottoman Empire continued for decades, as legal texts like the above were not backed by a penalty system. It was not until 1871 that a circular of July 20th of that year introduced the penalty of one years imprisonment for those who practiced the slave trade. Later, slave trafficking was expressly forbidden by utilizing clever technical loopholes in the application of sharia, or Islamic law. 

“Between 1870 and 1939 Jews played a conspicuous role in white slavery, as the prostitution of that era was called. Not only was this participation conspicuous, but it was, for the Jews, historically unprecedented, geographically widespread, and ­­ in an age of pandemic anti-Semitism ­­ fraught with collective political dangers.”
The Jewish Fight Against White Slavery 1870-1939

 “Yet the cases of voluntary consent escaped the control of the police, as well as such cases, where the parties were provided with a marriage testimonial; for several cases [8]indeed have been registered of men of Jewish extraction having sold their wives into servitude; after leaving Odessa with their wives, they returned within a certain time with their passport bearing the remark in the hand of the Russian consul in Constantinople: »Wife remained abroad” or »Divorced”. It is evident that such cases, presenting an appearance of complete matrimonial legality can scarcely be rooted out by administrative measures.”

"En Orient, principalement en Turquie d’Asie, les Grecques et les Italiennes sont les plus demandées. Constantinople, ce grand dépôt international d’esclaves blanches, fournit des Autrichiennes, des Roumaines et quelques Russes. Chose curieuse, les Hongroises ne se trouvent guère à l’étranger sauf dans les pays danubiens. On peut calculer que 33 p. 100 environ des prostituées de Smyrna et Bayrouth sont des juives Autrichiennes, avant déjà séjourné en Turquie. L’Autriche (la Galicie, Trieste et ses environs) fournit avec l’Italie à peu près 75 p. 100 des pauvres filles importées en Egypte, sans compter celles, qui viennent grossir le nombre des indigènes, qui peuplent les harems du Caïre, d’Hélonan et de l’Alexandrie.

".... a monthly magazine (G. and R.) of April 1889, which stated that in Constantinople every week loads German and Italian girls arrive, either on the road Varna-Odessa-Salonica, either through the ports of the Adriatic sea."

"...The Monthly magazine of 1 April 1889 mentions the fact that in some cities actual slave markets exists and  mainly in Constantinople. There is a market, where the young women sells, which for this purpose from Austria, Germany, Italy and Russia will be charged. And what the fairs, so says the same magazine that in Constantinople a building, the Casino called, which in reality is nothing more than an exhibition, where the human merchandise as easily traded as other merchandise at a show in New York. Goron mentions in his already mentioned drawing, which has long been at San Francisco localities known under the name of "Chambres de la Reine", in truth public slave markets."

De 'handel in blanke slavinnen | Wolter Louis Albert Collard

The "white slave trade".
academic Thesis to obtain the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence
At the University of Amsterdam,

On the authority of the Rector Dr.. S. Cramer,
Professor in the Faculty of Theology,
To publicly defend on Wednesday, July 11, 1900, in the afternoon to 4 hours,
In the auditorium of the University, by Wolter Louis Albert Collard, Born in Soestdijk.

Book, art & commercial printing v / h. Binger brothers. 1900.


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