Tag Archive | violence

The dangers of sex work in Canada

By Andrea Houston
Every night Lexi Tronic risks her life at work.
If she gets beaten or raped, she feels she can’t call police to report the attack because – at least for now – Tronic is also a criminal.
“What happens when you’re trapped in someone’s car with the doors locked? You don’t have any options. It’s fight or flight,” she says.
Tronic is a 10-year veteran in the sex trade who has worked both on the streets and from her home, as many sex workers have, she says.
On Dec 17, the transgender and sex-worker-rights activist will join others to mark the ninth annual International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Such violence is a pervasive problem that is largely preventable and often ignored, she says, noting that most violent crimes against sex workers go underreported, unaddressed and unpunished.

Ottawa police warn sex-trade workers after finding pattern in unsolved murders

OTTAWA— The Canadian Press Published Friday, Dec. 09, 2011

Women working in the sex trade in Ottawa are being warned by the city’s top cop to watch out for their safety.

Chief Vern White issued the warning Friday, saying police have found a pattern in unsolved homicides in Ottawa involving sex trade workers.

Police aren’t saying how many homicides have been linked, what the pattern is or how far back it goes. But they’ve confirmed a link and they want the community to know, Chief White said.

All women, especially those who work in the sex trade, should “be vigilant and exercise good safety practices,” he added.

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Fighting violence against women in Vancouver’s sex trade

It’s been 22 years since the Montreal massacre. We talk violence against women, and ways to end it, with survival sex work organizer Jennifer Allan, founder of Jen’s Kitchen. She experienced violence in the survival sex industry first-hand, but today, she supports those in the trade and pushes for change. By David P. Ball.

[Jennifer Allan, founder of Jen’s Kitchen, experienced violence in the survival sex industry first-hand – and today she advocates for those in the trade. Photo: David P. Ball]

Jennifer Allan knows first-hand what it’s like to sell one’s body in order to feed it.

About ten years ago, the 34-year old founder of Jen’s Kitchen – an advocacy, outreach and food relief service for women in Vancouver’s survival sex trade – found herself pacing the streets of Calgary and Vancouver, the pain of hunger in her belly.

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Vancouver police task force referred to missing and murdered women as ‘whores,’ inquiry hears

By Suzanne Fournier

Glenn Baglo/Postmedia News

VANCOUVER — Vancouver police officers and staff referred to the missing and murdered women as “hookers” or “whores,” made sexist remarks about female bosses and even disparaged grieving families, but the Vancouver Police Department does not suffer from “systemic bias,” an inquiry heard Tuesday.

Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard, author of a 400-page report critical of the Vancouver police and RCMP handling of the murdered women files, stuck to his guns after eight days of testimony at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

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Cops watched porn, skipped work instead of investigating missing women: Galliford

RCMP Corporal Catherine Galliford, left, said she will speak on behalf of victims at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be “explosive” when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won’t be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.

In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had “enough evidence for a search warrant” of serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.

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Trans sex workers still most vulnerable NEWS / Former sex worker turned activist preparing for Trans Day of Remembrance

Morgan M Page sometimes wishes she could reach back and hug her 12-year-old self: a lost and confused drug-addicted trans sex worker on the streets of Hamilton.

Page, 24, now leads trans programming at Toronto’s 519 Church St Community Centre, including the annual Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov 18. The event commemorates trans people who have been murdered.

“If you look at the list of names that we read on Trans Day of Remembrance, almost all of them are trans sex workers of colour,” Page points out.

Rose Osborne, a Winnipeg trans woman, was murdered in 2008. In 2010, police in Winnipeg arrested a Saskatchewan man in connection with the murder of another trans sex-trade worker in 2004.

According to numbers released by the Trans Murder Monitoring project in 2010, there have been more than 420 reported murders of trans people internationally since 2008, which means a trans person is killed every three days.

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Vulnerable witnesses to be shielded at Pickton inquiry

Squamish Nation elder Eugene Harry, right, blesses the Missing Women Inquiry headed byWally Oppal as it got underway Tuesday in Federal Court in Vancouver.

Squamish Nation elder Eugene Harry, right, blesses the Missing Women Inquiry headed

by Wally Oppal as it got underway Tuesday in Federal Court in Vancouver.

VANCOUVER — Vulnerable witnesses, including some who may have witnessed events at the B.C. farm of serial killer Robert Pickton, will be able to give evidence in sworn documents instead of testifying at a Vancouver inquiry.

The names of the potential witnesses — some of whom the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry has been told fear reprisals by pimps, drug dealers, other sex workers and even police officers — will be banned from publication.

Commissioner Wally Oppal, a former judge, made that ruling on Thursday morning, following Wednesday’s application by lawyer Jason Gratl for special arrangements at the inquiry to protect sex workers by banning their names and allowing them to testify by affidavit.

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Activist looks to bring plight of deadly sex trade to UN

by Caroline Zentner, Lethbridge Herald

The hundreds of murdered and missing women who have worked in the sex trade to survive inspired a Vancouver woman to work towards nationwide change.
Jennifer Allan, a First Nations human rights and sex worker activist, knows the dangers these women face firsthand. At 18, she became involved in the sex trade to escape violence and addiction at home and had been sexually exploited as a child. Her pimps moved her to Alberta where she worked for various madams. Then she got a criminal record for assaulting a police officer and was unable to work as an escort anymore because she couldn’t get a licence. She also couldn’t work at other jobs she had experience doing such as security and telemarketing. That forced her to work on the street.

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No interest from cops over missing sex workers: inquiry


The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — A woman who helped run a Vancouver drop-in centre for sex workers says she reported one of serial killer Robert Pickton’s victims missing, but believes she was lied to when an officer told her the woman was in rehab.

Elaine Allan, who ran the WISH drop-in centre from 1998 to 2001, told an inquiry into the Pickton case that she doesn’t believe Tiffany Drew was ever in rehab.

Instead, Allan said she thinks she was lied to by a police force that was dismissive and uninterested in reports that sex workers were vanishing at alarming rates from the city’s Downtown Eastside.

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