Announcement by Norddeutscher Lloyd (1901)
The shipping company Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd), on whose ships hundreds of thousands of emigrants made the passage from Hamburg and Bremerhaven to the USA in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, urges the hosts of accommodations for young women traveling alone to be aware of the crime of human trafficking. Shocking stories about young women who were forced into prostitution after their arrival were often read in the press at the time. Especially Jewish women from Eastern Europe who traveled to the United States without means or connections were vulnerable to this danger. In 1910, 14 states, including the German Reich, signed an international agreement against the trafficking of girls and women.
To all of the landlords of hostelries for emigrants, Bremen.
It has recently come to our attention that young girls traveling alone are being recruited by procurers for transportation overseas to work as servants.
Although the laws regarding negligence cannot impose penalties upon persons involved in their transport and housing, from a general human standpoint it is urgently necessary for landlords and their personnel in particular to always keep an eye out in order to ensure that inexperienced girls traveling alone are not cast into misfortune and misery by the despicable promises of disreputable individuals. With his experience, a prudent Bremen landlord will, naturally with the requisite tact and decency, soon be able to discover whether such conditions of travel are present.
Under certain circumstances, by the way, negligence and indolence in this regard can lead to serious crimes, especially when the landlord offers advice to consult a trusted person and this request is disregarded out of negligence. We therefore urge landlords, for their own reassurance, always to refer young girls traveling alone, if they are of the Protestant faith, to Pastor Büttner, Alberstraße 13, Bremen, and if they are of the Catholic faith to the representative of the St. Raphael Association, Father Prachar, Falkenstraße 49, Bremen.
These two gentlemen have very wide-ranging connections and can offer recommendations and protection to their co-religionists.
Furthermore, all landlords should immediately notify the Emigrants’ Information Office at the railway station if they have any misgivings with regard to the destination and future accommodation of any female person traveling on her own.
Bremen, November 30, 1901.
North German Lloyd
Source: “An sämtlichen Herren Auswandererwirthe, Bremen.” Announcement by North German Lloyd, Bremen, 1901. Staatsarchiv Bremen. Reprinted in 300 Jahre Auswanderung in die USA, 1683-1983, p. 415.