Today, Liza discusses White Slavery
The abduction of young girls and boys as fodder for the prostitution market has always been a problem which England has been loath to deal with. As late as 1874, it was only a misdemeanor to force a girl thirteen or younger into having sex. No protection existed for those older than thirteen, and no protection was given to young boys at all. For years reformists tried to get a bill through parliament to increase the protection of young girls, but each time the bill was blocked.
Finally, investigative journalist, William Thomas Stead, decided to expose the problem of child prostitution in the London underworld through a publicity stunt. He “purchased” a 13 year old girl, Eliza Armstrong, for £5 and took her to a brothel where they drugged her with chloroform.
He went on to publish four exposés entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon, shocking the public to their core with tales of the abduction and sale of young English virgins to “pleasure palaces”.
Forced to respond to the fury of the public, in 1885 the parliament finally passed a law protecting girls up to sixteen, which still stands today.
So was it possible that forced sex slavery still occurred nine years later?
Without a doubt. While the Victorians in general might prefer to ignore the lurid occurrences or hold the young woman responsible for ‘allowing’ herself to become entangled in such ugliness, the truth is these young women and boys often had no ability to prevent their abduction.
In Book 2: The Missing Partner, a house of society is constantly seeking young women and fellows for employment. Only attractive lasses and lads are hired, and none are aware that besides regular chores, they will be expected to provide whatever a gentleman wants, when fine paragons of society arrive every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If they baulk at their duties, they are taken to an establishment in the worst part of town, where the patrons are more plentiful and conditions far worse. Some return, worse for the wear, to their duties at the mansion, others never return and new hires take their place.
But as Inspector Stone explains to Vic, there is nothing illegal in having too many servants. And to make a claim of forced slavery and prostitution against a man of society would require far more proof than just testimonies from the victims.
The hard truth is that laws do not stop the crime if they are not actively enforced, which, sadly for the lower classes, they aren’t unless the poor girl or guy is thought to be the perpetrator.
Shockingly, this problem continues to this day. Recently it was made public that during the last sixteen years, over 1,400 young people in the English town of Rotherham were forced into prostitution. Evidently, the police and social workers were aware of the problem, but thought it better to ignore the matter. However, they did arrest two fathers who attempted to rescue their daughters, so the Rotherham police are firm on trespassing laws.
But enough about white slavery, Vic has a bigger problem: Xavier is Missing!
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic
The Missing Partner
By Liza O’Connor
Cases to be Resolved:
The ‘New Woman’ Who Lost Her Old Mind
The Lost Servant of Dante’s Hell
The Disappearance of a Very Important Man
The Abduction of Sneaky Snake by a Grand Elephant
The Cat Who Wore Too Much
Vic Hamilton takes the reins of the investigation office, while Xavier Thorn disappears on an assignment for the British government. Her caseload is entirely ‘lost and recovery’ cases. In the midst of solving all her client’s problems, she learns that the government has lost Xavier. With the help of the gypsy pirate Jacko, and her driver Davy, Vic rushes against time to rescue everyone.
Most alarming, she befriends and hires a dangerous criminal as an employee of Xavier Thorn’s Private Inquiries—without Xavier’s permission.
Sara leaned in and whispered. “Mr. Jonston said he’d punish anyone who mentioned her name.”
Vic snorted. “Well, I have no intention of telling him anything. However, if I knew a bit more about this friend we won’t name, I might be able to ensure she is safe and well.”
Sara grabbed hold of Vic’s arm. “Would you? I’ve been so worried about her.”
“When did she go missing?”
“Sometime late Wednesday, after she attended the gentlemen.”
“When you say ‘attend,’ exactly what do you mean?”
Sara blushed and bit her bottom lip. “Waited on them. The master frequently entertains.”
“Tell me what happened.” To provide a sense of security, Vic took her hand.
Sara verified they were alone and whispered, “I overheard the cook say the master was her father.”
“And did you tell her?”
Sara nodded. “If he knew, he’d fire me…or worse!”
“Because I caused this! Mary confronted Mr. Jonston and called him a liar of the worst kind.”
“The butler? Why was she angry at him?”
“Because he had led her to believe he was her father. All these years, she’s endured the abuse because she thought it was her duty as a daughter.”
“What type of abuse?”
The maid would no longer look Vic in the eyes.
“Sara, is he abusing you, as well?”
She shook her head, but the tears streaming down her cheeks and raining upon her clasped hands said otherwise.
“Will you not trust me with the truth? I cannot help you unless you do.”
She tightened her grip on Vic’s hand. “No one can save me. If I try to leave, Mr. Jonston says he’ll let it be known I’ve lost my virtue.”
Vic sighed. “If I can find you another place to work‒”
“They would not want me once they know. Mr. Jonston would tell them.”
“That’s not true. I can find you a place where they will judge you solely on your work. The theft of your virtue will not matter.”
Her hand tightened on Vic’s. “This is too important to tease me with promises you cannot keep.”
“It’s not a tease. If you want to leave here, I will find you work in a proper house with kind people.”
Jonston suddenly entered the room and took note of Sara’s hand grasping Victor’s. His eyes narrowed.
Victor stood. “Thank you for your time, Miss.” She waited until Sara left to speak to Jonston. “Sorry, she was just so pretty…can’t blame a fellow for a bit of a flirt.”
The Troublesome Apprentice
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The Missing Partner
First, I got tired of telling my proper blog. Now, I’m tired of telling my improper bio. So what’s left?
Liza O’Connor was born, raised badly, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast…and employment, there were no jobs in the Mid-west. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.)
Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. All those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. And given her past, they will likely traumatize you.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)
Ghost Lover—Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
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