Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
Inspired by several stage plays and a couple of sensationalistic Danish white slavery" films, Traffic in Souls became one of the most talked about and, at $25,000, the most expensive feature film of its day. Although representing himself as an enemy of the pervasive "traffic in souls," the capture and enslavement of innocent immigrant girls right off the boat, wealthy "reformer" William Trubus (William Welsh) is actually the head of the ring, operating from an office bearing the legend: "International Purity and Reform League." On the floor below, the Go-Between (Howard Crampton) receives money from brothel operators and is in constant contact with his boss though such modern inventions as a dictagraph and a telegraphic pen. A couple of Swedish immigrants (Flora Nason and Vera Hansey, are snatched from their waiting brother (William Powers by one of Trubus' henchmen and brought to a bogus employment agency bearing a temporary sign that promises "Swenska Talas Her" ("Swedish spoken here"). But Officer Burke (Matt Moore) has become suspicious and raids the premises. Meanwhile, Lorna (Ethel Grandin), the sister of Burke's girlfriend Mary (Jane Gail), has been drugged and kidnapped by Bradshaw (William Cavanaugh), yet another of Trubus' white slavers. After desperately searching for her sister, Mary asks that Burke be assigned to solve her kidnapping. The plucky girl manages to get herself the job of telephone operator at the fake reform league and learns enough for the police to raid the brothel where Lorna is being held. While Trubus is celebrating the betrothal of his daughter Alice (Irene Wallace) to a scion of society, the police burst in and arrest him. Released on bail, Trubus is almost lynched by the angry mob, while Mary and Burke announces their engagement.
prostitute/prostitution, slavery, soul, traffic, white-slavery, youth