Traffic in Souls (1913)

TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  24 November 1913 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 403 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 8 critic

A woman, with the aid of her police officer sweetheart, endeavors to uncover the prostitution ring that has kidnapped her sister, and the philanthropist who secretly runs it.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Gail ...
Ethel Grandin ...
William H. Turner ...
Matt Moore ...
William Welsh ...
William Trubus (as Wm. Welsh)
Millie Liston ...
Mrs. William Trubus (as Mrs. Hudson Lyston)
Irene Wallace ...
Alice Trubus - Daughter
William Cavanaugh ...
Bill Bradshaw (as Wm. Cavanaugh)
Arthur Hunter ...
Howard Crampton ...
W.H. Bainbridge ...
'Respectable' Smith (as Wm. Burbridge)
Luray Huntley ...
A Country Girl (as Laura Huntley)
William Powers ...
The Emigrant Girls' Brother (as Wm. Powers)
Jack Poulton ...
Edward Boring ...


An early social commentary on the New York sex trade, this film attempts to sensationalize prostitution, especially forced prostitution. Featuring a number of characters and sub-plots, the film is presented as if it were a documentary. Written by Fryingham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Six Reels of Thrilling Realities See more »


Crime | Drama






Release Date:

24 November 1913 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Seelenhändler  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,700 (estimated)


$430,000 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Describing this as the most important film in Universal Picture's history (and Carl Laemmle's) may not be an overstatement. Made for a mere $5,700.00 and tackling the lurid subject of white slavery, this (Universal's first feature length release) earned a whopping $450,000.00 and it put the company squarely on the map. See more »


Title Card: That night, they secure her father's invention for intensifying sound waves and recording dictagraph sounds on a phonographic record.
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Crazy Credits

Opening Title Card lists the name of the movie as: Traffic In Souls or While New York Sleeps". Further, it describes the film as "A Photodrama of Today". See more »


Featured in Ellis Island, une histoire du rêve américain (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

The 'sensational' is not very exciting.
25 May 1999 | by (Virginia) – See all my reviews

This movie which relies on the sensational, is not very sensational. The film treats of the white slave trade with immigrant girls to this country as likely candidates for kidnapping. The interior scenes are stultifying (with cheap painted backdrops and hideous wallpaper). There is no camera movement. This static approach to efforts to wipe out the slave trade does not work. Coincidence piles upon coincidence to the point of absurdity. There are too many characters and sub-plots. The only time the film has an opportunity to breathe is during the exterior scenes, such as at the docks or on the rooftop. The film stands, however, as a good introduction to what film used to be before creative elements jelled in the industry.

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