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‘The Slaves of Chinatown’
A Summation of Chapter 8 of The Barbary Coast by Herbert Asbury
From an informal History of the San Francisco Underworld, pages 165-197
Early in the book, concerning the hoodlums and the Chinese, slave dens are mentioned as being targets of hoodlum violence, being white gangsters devoted mostly to pimping and despoiling the Chinese merchant class. The word hoodlum comes from “huddle em” a call to cohesion practiced by these feral paleface savages when the police came near. A favorite occupation of hoodlums was cutting off the pony-tail of Chinese men and keeping them as scalps. So, even in the dying days of Plantation America, in the 1850s, race-based terrorism was, in California predominantly against the Chinese, Indians and the Mexicans, with very little record of abuse of African Americans. Also, the worst crimes against the Chinese were committed first by the Mexicans and secondly by their own kind, with most killings and virtually all human trafficking of Chinese conducted by Chinese. Chinese only reached outside their race for whites, men to serve as vice customers and bodyguards and drug-addicted white women to serve as prostitutes.
Like the English of a century earlier, it was common for Chinese to sell their children into slavery, particularly girls, where the English usually sold their boys into slavery. Chinese girls were trafficked as sex slaves for 100 to 1000 dollars a piece from the ages of 1 to 14. By the time she was 20, if she lived that long, she was a diseased and worn-out old hag, who would be placed in basement cell on a shelf to expire, commit suicide or be strangled and disposed of the next day. As with the boy slaves of Plantation America in the 1600s and 1700s, the girl slaves of Chinese San Francisco were caught in a cycle of perpetual slavery masquerading as a voluntary contract, its conditions intended to maintain that person’s enslavement for the full length of their productive life, until their lack of productivity caused them to be “disowned.”
A Chinese girl was bought from parents or kidnapped in China.
She was then shipped in a padded box as cargo, which at least was better treatment than English boys had previously been served.
She was then made to stand for her sale, with the money being placed in her hand and given to the person who had fictitiously “paid for their voluntary passage” and told to voice a pledge to service for no payment, usually for a term of 4 years, as reimbursement for her purchase. With the exception of three notable beauties, one being the Golden Peach, virtually all of these women died of venereal disease in bondage, with medical surveys determining that over 90% of slave girls were diseased.
Not only was the duplicitous conduct of this slave-trade done under false legal and commercial pretexts, always claiming that the infant, toddler or child slave girl was a volunteer, but the contracts and manifests were similarly worded and give a glimpse of the shipping-based character of Plantation America slavery changed over to Oriental traffic in its final breaths:
The blatant and court-supported trade in these girls—was, like the recent and current trade in eastern European women in Baltimore City—supported by politicians and lawyers, from 1852 thru 1914, when a crusading catholic angel, Miss Donaldina Cameron, finally succeeded in getting the passage of the Red-light Abatement Act by the California Legislature in 1911, but not before tens of thousands of poor slave girls were fucked and strangled to death over three generations, in one area, of one town. How bad must it have been on the East Coast of America a hundred years earlier in a dozen such towns, when no liberating angel campaigned for the succor of poor white children? In June 1868, 43 girls of ages 8 to 13 were rescued from a ship by police and sent to an Asylum, from where slavers had them one way or another transferred into their slave dens, cribs, parlors and bagnios.
Below is a bill of sale from Canada:
Loo Wong to Loo Chee
April 16—rice, six mats, at $2…$12
April 18—shrimps, 50 lbs., at 10c…$5
April 20—girl…$250
April 21—salt fish, 60 lbs., at 10c…6
...$273
Received payment,
Loo Chee
Victoria, B.C., May 1, 1898
This fits any definition of slavery, yet, though this continues to this day, in the town of Portland Oregon, where I write this, the Master Race of white liberal academics will deny that any person other than an African or African American lacks the agency explicit in the condition of slavery, thereby planting the ire of the martyr in the heart of one unfortunate folk and declaring that any other race of person enslaved volunteered for the privilege of a wasted life of abuse. These girls were beaten and tortured as a matter of course and were not permitted to turn away any customer, no matter how diseased he was.
The record sale price for a slave girl was paid in 1898 and was $2,800 and she was 14, the exact age at which most English boys were sold in Plantation America.
Below are two contracts verbally agreed to by captive slave girls, who were, like the boys of Plantation America, almost entirely illiterate and unable to read, let alone sign their name. These agreements are in line with Plantation Virginia legislative statutes of the mid 1600 and early 1700s and differ so little in legal substance that one suspects that the very same ship owners who profited from the earlier trade simply switched to another racial commodity as the clock expired on the antipathy that had previously permitted the poor of all European races to be trafficked openly—for the new industrial nations required armies of conscript slave soldiers to send into the meet-grinder of industrial war, with my comments in brackets:
“An agreement to assist a young girl named Loi Yan, because she became indebted to her mistress [slave master] for passage, board, etc., and has nothing to pay [because she was sold as sex chattel or kidnapped]. She makes her body over to the woman Sep Sam to serve as a prostitute, to make out the sum of $503. [the men who fucked her paid less than a dollar and most girls had sex 25 days a month for 5 years, so the mistress would make bank] The money shall draw no interest, and Loi Yan shall receive no wages. Loi Yan shall serve four and one-half years. [a minimum calculated to become perpetual bondage as hinted at below]
…when the time is out Loi Yan shall be her own master and no man shall trouble her… If she is sick [or menstruating or pregnant] fifteen days [average 5 per month barring pregnancy] she shall make up one month for every 10 days [meaning the act of menstruation will, over 4.5 years, cause her to miss 270 days, making her liable to serve another 27 months, or 2.5 years, in which the same penalties will accrue, keeping her in bondage perpetually until her charms are gone forever and she is strangled on her sick shelf, and this barring actual sickness, and time missed from pregnancy and recovery from abortion procedures.] If Sep Sam shall go back to China Lo Yan shall serve another master until her time is out.”
[Sounds like a prison sentence, not an agreement. Indeed, not only was Loi Yan illiterate, her sale was conducted in another language than her own.]
So called “indentured servitude” or debt-based slavery in Plantation America, also claimed to be at will and for self-improvement when it was virtually always child trafficking of illiterate poor sold by a parent or guardian or the sale of kidnapping victims. The scheme is to abduct or purchase a slave, then at the point of entry, sell them under the fiction that they had sold themselves to pay for passage.
Another contract is reproduced below, was commonly used in the 1870s and 1880s The words in brackets are Asbury’s:
“For the consideration of [whatever sum had been agreed upon], paid into my hands this day, [1] I, [name of girl], promise to prostitute my body for the term of—years [3]. If in that time, I am sick one day, two weeks shall be added to my time, and if more than one day, my term of prostitution shall continue an additional month, [2] But if I run away, or escape from the custody of my keeper, then I am to be held as a slave for life.
(Signed)_________”
The runaway clause—with most running away be triggered by severe beatings and abuse, hence the logic of beating your property, in order to get them to runaway, would trigger a life of enslavement, similar the three-strikes rule in late 1900s California and the Statute of Incorrigible Rogues in mid 1600s Virginia.
Some particularly cunning and beautiful girls, such as Suey Hin, would manage to buy their freedom, often by seducing a rich white man, and would then amass a stable of their own slave girls. In 1898, Suey Hin sold all but 7 of her slave girls on her conversion to Christianity, including a three-year-old girl who could have been sold for $300 but was placed in a Salvation Army Mission instead.
To beat a long-dying horse, consider that the mass of American minds and the collective Academic World Mind, still steadfastly refuse to identity any form of human bondage, no matter how cruel, as slavery, unless it consists of a European American owning an African American, despite the origin of both the racial designation of “white” and the term slave as having originated in the Non-Christian Middle East among chattel sellers as descriptions of Eastern European men and woman sold into sex slavery, the men to be genitally mutilated.
Notes
-1. The money was ceremoniously placed in the slave’s hand, who was then forced to give that money to her seller, a fiction not necessary in earlier ages, showing that American conscience had advanced in the need to be buoyed by the Lie Everlasting.
-2. If a girl menstruated a minimal 3 days a month, she would receive an additional month for every menstruation, making her bondage perpetual even if never sick or impregnated.
-3. The open nature of this document was the most common, there being, in every instance in Plantation America of the sale of a human, a valuation of their time and of their passage and of their absence from work, all of which were converted in terms of “time served,” with “time served” being a concept in all of the great American slave fraternities: slavery, military service and time served behind bars as an inmate or prisoner.
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Add Comment
JJprzybylskiJune 19, 2020 6:37 PM UTC

Sick!
responds:June 20, 2020 12:26 PM UTC

Stomach churning and I suspect highly representative of the situations 17th century English boys were in.
JJPrzybylskiJune 15, 2020 12:39 AM UTC

"-2. If a girl menstruated a minimal 3 days a month, she would receive an additional month for every menstruation, making her bondage perpetual even if never sick or impregnated."

Thus sex slavery is like debt slavery with compound interest. But you already know that.

Nice piece.

ps

I love being lectured on Racism by young and panting Chinese females with an American education.
responds:June 19, 2020 1:16 PM UTC

I had 17 years f menstruation before I let the bank take the house back...