HC Deb 05 March 1895 vol 31 cc374-5

On behalf of the hon. Member for Nottingham, Rushcliffe (MR. JOHN ELLIS), I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has now received a report from the British Consul, Mr. Robinson, at Amsterdam, with respect to the case of the girl who alleged she was refused permission to remove her personal property on leaving a situation in that city; and, if so, what is its nature, and particularly what assistance did the Consul give to the girl in appealing for justice to the Dutch police authorites as suggested by him?


A report has been received. The Consul states that two girls called upon him and asked for his assistance in recovering their luggage, which had been detained by the proprietor of the Café Chantant "Casino." The Consul at once applied to the police, who readily gave what help they could, but it appeared that the proprietor had made advances to the girls, through the London Agent who engaged them, and refused to give up the luggage until he had been repaid. The girls stated that they left because they were expected to mix with the male visitors and to encourage them to drink, arid they considered that the London Agent had not given them a fair account of the situation. The proprietor said there was no dispute between him and them, except that he could not continue to employ them. The, third girl left some days ago for London, and it does not appear that she was detained against her will. The Consul seems to have given his attention directly he was appealed to, to have taken a good deal of trouble to get at the facts of the case, and to have done all that was possible in the circumstances which I have described.

MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been directed to a statement made by Annie Nightingale to Mr. Bushby at the Worship Street Police Court on Friday last, indicating a system of sending girls to the Continent for immoral purposes by an agent in York Road, Waterloo Road; whether he has caused inquiry to be made into the facts; and, whether he can inform the House what means, if any, are taken, or can be taken, to prevent such a traffic from being carried on?


From inquiries made by the police, I am unable to say that any offence punishable by law has been committed in this country. The agent Houghton, at the instance of the proprietor of the Damrack Music Hall, Amsterdam, engaged and sent out Alice Norton to fulfil an engagement there on January 16th, and Mr. Houghton has furnished the police with a letter from Norton in answer to Houghton's inquiries on the 20th, in which she did not say anything against the character of the music hall; and on 30th January Mrs. Nightingale and a Miss Stewart went out. Mrs. Nightingale repeated to the police the statements made before the magistrate. The girl Norton came back from Amsterdam, at her own expense, to refute the statement made in the newspapers for the sake of her family; but she returned to Amsterdam before she could be seen by the police. The police exercise the utmost vigilance in all cases where they have reason to believe that there is anything illicit or criminal of the kind suggested, but it would not be expedient to state what are the measures they take.

MR. J. C. MACDONA (Southwark, Rotherhithe)

May I ask whether it is not the case that in some places on the Continent, girls who go over report themselves to the British Consul, and whether the right hon. Gentleman will communicate with the, Foreign Office with a view to this practice being followed at Amsterdam?


The hon. Member must give notice of that question.