In Fine Line, Chapter 6 Human Trafficking and Infanticide, still attempting to get out of legal trouble, Daryl relays to James and Stewart, the story of how he became orphaned. Life was tough in New York City in the late Nineteenth Century. Fortunately, Daryl was introduced to the Foundling Society. He also experienced evidence of problems that people have refused to discuss. The following is an excerpt of Daryl's early story:
After a few more moments of thought, Daryl began, “My parents were great! They were young when they had me, probably not even twenty yet. I’m telling through the reflections of their friend, the reporter, David Graham Phillips. He was the person who, later, helped me with my journalistic attempts to write the News Boy press releases. I’ll tell you more about him a little later.
“They were free spirits. They met David down in the Village, where artists and journalists liked to hang out. They were called Bohemians. When I was born, Mom and Dad had to work all the time, so they were rarely able to hang out down at the village any more. From David’s account they rarely had time for anything except working.
“When I was six, Mom discovered she was expecting a second child. They tried to make ends meet, but found it difficult. Dad worked on the docks and Mom took in sewing and ironing in the tenement. As much as they worked, they still had financial troubles. They wanted to raise me and my little brother or sister as best they could. David kept in touch as he hired Mom to do his laundry. He also came up with an idea for one of his first series of editorials.
“David later worked for the New York World until 1902. Then he published his first novel, The Great God of Success. David was a crusader as a journalist. He was known as a Progressive and a muckraker. He exposed the corruption in Congress and caused several New York representatives to resign under public outcry. He also exposed corporate corruption and the abuses of trusts, child labor, and human trafficking. Whenever he wrote and exposed abuses and corruption, somebody’s illicit livelihood was brought to light and threatened.
“David found a great deal of evidence regarding the means by which women were offered jobs for passage in the Old County and then sold into prostitution in the United Sates. Most had no education, couldn’t speak English and were doomed to an average of five years of torture in enduring the pain and humiliation of prostitution. If they got pregnant, they were forced to get abortions so they could get back to work. If they found a means of escaping the life style, they were discouraged through beatings, torture and other abuses. I said ‘five years’ because that was David’s calculation of their life expectancy. David also began to see a link between human trafficking and abortion.
“There was evidence of abortion all over the city. Street workers would find babies in the alleys, wrapped in newspapers. Sanitation workers would find them in dust cans as they emptied them into their wagons. The Foundling Society would accept babies with no questions asked. Mothers would pin a note on the blanket and leave the child at the steps or at the entrance of a police station or fire house. They asked the Society to take care of them. As much as possible the notes were kept and later given to the child when they would leave.
“David became curious and wanted to discover how wide-spread the abortion industry was. It was going on all around the city. People were advertising the service as, ‘Restoring the menses.’ There were advertisements for abortifacients and other chemical or medical ‘Relief from the source of your distress.’ Although abortion was illegal, it was going on without law abiding, moral people even noticing. You only found the symptoms and evidence of the dark industry if you were looking for it.
“He wanted to determine if the activities were conducted by mid-wives, doctors, or back alley amateurs. He also wanted to determine to what extent they were self-induced with a coat hanger, a knitting needle of crochet hook. David had quite a reputation, so in addition to his royalties from his book and freelance work, he was able to get investigation and research money from his potential editors. He knew Mom and Dad needed some extra cash to get by, so he offered them an undercover job.
“Mom was about seven months along and showing pretty well. David hired them to pose as a couple seeking an abortion, so he could expose the places and persons performing the operations to the light of the public. He published a major exposé of the industry entitled Human Trafficking and Infanticide.
“They all felt the story would be a safe assignment, as they had no intentions of actually going through with the procedure. He found mid-wives and doctors who would not perform the procedure. He found doctors and mid-wives who would perform the procedure. For the doctors, there was a legal loophole, therapeutic abortions.
“The places that offered illegal abortion and the brothels had to find police protection. The police, just like local residents, knew what was going on by the volume of foot traffic to and from the places. That didn’t mean the police watched over them for a price. It meant the police, for a price, would simply look the other way and attempt to divert raids when possible. One place owned by Madame Fleischer a mid-wife who performed abortions, sold abortifacients, or referred the client to another facility. She had a son who was on the police force. Naturally, he offered more protection than the other police who simply attempted to divert raids.
“He watched over his mother’s business and kept his ears open to any news, information or rumors traveling through the police network or his informants’ grapevine on the street. There were several articles from the series of twenty-one articles already in circulation. People in the business were getting worried they would be shut-down or arrested. Both were happening across the city.
“David told me, Officer Fleischer was probably on patrol and met my mom and dad coming out of an interview with Madame Fleischer. Something about them stirred his instincts. He followed them and found out who they were. A few days later, he summoned Dad to a secluded meeting place. That was when Dad went missing. David suspected Officer Fleischer and began to do his own investigation.
“A week later Dad’s body was found in the Hudson. He had been shot by a thirty-eight special. Through David’s insistence and presenting evidence to police and prosecutors he could trust, they began to consider Officer Fleischer as a person of interest. When the police went to his apartment to question him, they found Officer Fleischer dead, with a single shot to the right temple from his police revolver. They ruled his death suicide.
“According to David, finding Dad’s body and determining his killer, gave no comfort to Mom. She went into a depressed state. She stayed in bed until the time of her deliver and died in child birth.
“David was very helpful to me. He found a place in the Foundling Society. He visited frequently and took me to dinner on Sunday afternoons. I kind of always had a childhood fantasy that he would come one day and offer to be my father. I am sure his work and the fact that he never married kept him from even considering such an arrangement. Funny how kids think.
“Long after I left the Foundling Society, I began to wonder if I had a special arrangement to be a leader and not have to work so many hours because David was paying some of my support. I want to go back to New York some day and see him. I want him to know I’m in the journalism business and have been somewhat successful as an adult.”
Jerry is a retired school teacher who has always had passion for writing and reading. He enjoys metal, wood and leather working in his shops at home. He loves to travel and spend time with his family. Jerry released Woodcutter's Revival n 2012. He also has Revived: Story of Publishing a Christian Novel on Amazon.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
Read more articles by Jerry Slauter or search for articles on the same topic or others.