His subsequent investigations were published in the Gazette from 6–10 July 1885 under the title "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon".
Not only did he base his investigations on interviews with the police, as well as those who were involved in the flesh trade, he went beyond it by setting an example: he "purchased" a girl and wrote about it.
A minority caretaker government was formed under Lord Salisbury pending the holding of the general election later that year.
As a result, it was deemed that no time-consuming or controversial measure be undertaken until then.
Girls over the age of 13 and the poor had little protection under this law. While it was tolerated in the middle-class, concern about the spread of venereal disease, specifically syphilis, persuaded Parliament to pass a series of Contagious Diseases Acts in an effort to contain the disease.
The law permitted the police to arrest suspected prostitutes to be submitted for examination for venereal disease.
Its unintended consequence was that any woman who happened to look like a prostitute would be subject to this law.
In addition, during the 1860s and 1870s, child advocacy groups were concerned with child abuse and other forms of maltreatment.
Furthermore, groups like the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (SPCC) were concerned about the limitation of the testimony of young children.
With the assistance of Bramwell Booth of the Salvation Army, Stead bought 13-year-old Eliza Armstrong from her parents, who lived in the Lisson Grove area of west London, and went through the procedure of preparing her for export.