"Girls leading life of open immorality"
On 5 August 1895 the Christchurch Police received a stern warning about their failure to stamp out prostitution in “disorderly houses” in the city.
The Canterbury branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union had written to Inspector Brougham telling him that it had been noted that his officers were choosing to act only when complaints were received that the houses had “proved a nuisance” when instead they should immediately suppress all such houses in the district. “If not, my Committee instructs me to say that the matter will not be allowed to rest here but further steps will be taken,” wrote Hon. Sec S.M. Widdowson. The Police were not impressed, claiming that there had been “a considerable reduction” in the number of prostitutes working in the city over the last two years. “I would therefore ask whether it is advisable for the Police should go further and attempt the impossible by trying to suppress prostitution altogether … If every prostitute in Christchurch were to be locked up today, a fresh lot would be prepared to go on the streets tomorrow to take their place,” wrote Brougham in his report to the Police Commissioner in Wellington.
Shown here is a list supplied to the police of “Girls leading life of open immorality”
ACIS 17627 P1/238 1895/1036
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