HC Deb 19 February 1907 vol 169 cc709-10
*MR. WHITEHEAD (Essex, S.E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the suggested negotiations with the Government of France relative to the New Hebrides, he will urge the importance of forbidding entirely the engagement of unmarried women, even with the consent of the head of their tribe, having regard to the moral evils and cruelty which have already arisen from this kind of engagement, and the gradual depopulation of the islands being caused thereby.


The regulations laid down in the Convention regarding the employment of women, combined with the provisions for the government of the islands, constitute a distinct advance upon those hitherto applied, and are intended to prevent the evils referred to, if they have hitherto occurred. If, when the new system comes into operation, it is found desirable to make the regulations more stringent, the two Governments will no doubt co-operate for that purpose. And the British Commissioner in the islands will be instructed to report upon the working of the regulations, and to keep this point, as well as others, in mind.