sailor mongering

The US is pressing criminal charges against Greenpeace for “sailor mongering.”

Sailor mongering was rife in the 19th century when brothels sent prostitutes laden with booze onto ships as they made their way to harbor. The idea was to get the sailors so drunk they could be whisked to shore and held in bondage, and a law was passed against it in 1872. It has only been used in a court of law twice, the last time in 1890.

They are being tried for stopping ships bringing in illegally harvested Amazonian mahogany from Brazil. This brings up two questions: is this like charging the Mafia on tax evasion, and how many more ridiculous naval laws are there from the 19th century?

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