The rationale for this investigation arises at least in part from concerns voiced by stakeholders and advocacy groups that changes created by the anti-communication law may have made prostitution a more dangerous business for the sellers. Since the law outlaws simple communication in public for the purposes of prostitution, it has been suggested that to escape surveillance prostitutes might be pressured to work in more remote locations and might be less careful in screening potential dates. In addition, the increased liability of arrest might make the prostitutes more dependent on exploitative pimps for protection in order to work, and subject to violence and coercion to ensure continued dependency. As a consequence, the suppression of street communication might increase the exposure of sellers to dangerous john and pimps and might further entrench them in the street trade. The search for various remedies to the problems of prostitution, including the objectives of the laws and their desired as well as unintended effects, has been the subject of several successive national and inter-urban consultations.
The first question to address in this report is violence against prostitutes and specifically whether there has been a discernible increase in the level of violence against prostitutes. If there has been an increase, is this a result of Bill C-49? And if that has occurred, one must ask how the law has changed the vulnerability of prostitutes. However, if the proposition linking the communicating law and violence is not compelling, then one needs to determine from what the increasing vulnerability of prostitutes arises. Is it a result of an increase in the number of prostitutes? An increase in the vulnerability of prostitutes due to their youthful age or drug dependencies? Is it a function of global trends in violence against women? Or does it arise from something else?
Second, we examined the trends in the leading categories of reported violent crime against all females in Calgary starting in 1984. This permitted some comparison of the overall trends in victimization against prostitutes and women generally.
Third, we reviewed all the known and suspected homicide cases involving prostitutes in Calgary and Winnipeg since 1985. This permitted some evaluation of the magnitude of the problem of violence against prostitutes, some on the circumstances in which it occurs and some of the salient characteristics of these cases. Interviews with police explored the perceived impact of s. 213 as well as other relevant factors in these cases.
Fourth, we interviewed a sample of Calgary prostitutes to learn from them what they believed were the main hazards of the prostitution business, and the main sources of violence against prostitutes, including the perceived role of s. 213 in exposing them to danger.
Fifth, we conducted an analysis of the coverage of prostitution in Calgary newspapers, particularly with a view to evaluating the public perception of violence against prostitutes and the themes of exploitation and child prostitution. This analysis was undertaken to record shifts in public perceptions about the nature of prostitution.
Sixth, we reviewed some of the key criminal cases in which the laws governing prostitution have undergone judicial examination on appeal, including s.213. If the laws are thought to regulate the sex trade, then the outcomes of recent judicial reviews are worth examining to determine whether the laws can continue to be applied as intended. This review permitted a comparison of controls as they apply to street and off-street venues.
And finally, we tried to identify some alternative social and legal strategies to deal with prostitution and the vulnerability of prostitutes, including publishing the names of 'john', the use of letters directed at cars perceived to be prowling the strolls and alternative charging approaches.
This report begins by examining the utilization of s. 213 in Calgary and Winnipeg, trends in the arrests of customers and prostitutes, and trends in the arrests of adolescent prostitutes. This section also explores the adoption of measures designed to control pimping.
In Winnipeg, use of s. 213 has been more moderate. There were 152 charges for communication laid in 1992, down from nearly 300 in 1989. This number jumped by 11% in 1993 to 171 charges. This included 88 adult female sellers, 14 female sellers and 49 'johns' - the balance were male prostitutes (18) and transvestites (2). In 1992, of the 152 communication charges, approximately half were 'johns' and half were sellers. However, as Table Two suggests, Winnipeg tends to consistently report the plurality of charges against the sellers.
Table Two. Communication Charges in Winnipeg 1987-1993
Year Prostitutes Customers Total
1987 90 11 101
1988 n/a n/a n/a
1989 226 72 298
1990 177 79 256
1991 116 91 207
1992 78 74 152
1993 122 49 171
Source: Winnipeg Police Department
Among those arrested for communication, significant numbers faced charges under the YOA - indicating that many of those working as prostitutes were adolescents. This is true in both Calgary and Winnipeg. Table Three reports the trends in the arrests of adolescent prostitutes in both cities. In Calgary, initiatives were taken in the late 1980s to selectively target juveniles working as prostitutes to remove them from 'the life'. As Table Three shows, in some years, as many as 22-24% of all arrests for communication have involved adolescents under the age of 18. In Winnipeg, there is also ample evidence of young persons working as prostitutes. It is less clear that young persons have been selectively targeted for arrest in Winnipeg. This may explain the differences in the percentage of arrests involving YOs in each city. Even so, in certain years we find levels of YO arrests in the 14 to 18% range.
Table Three. Arrest Trends for Communication Involving Female YOs in Calgary and Winnipeg
Calgary % Winnipeg %
1987 n/a -- 16 / 90 17.7
1988 52 / 219 23.7 n/a --
1989 57 / 309 18.4 23 / 226 10.1
1990 79 / 365 21.6 18 / 177 10.1
1991 76 / 460 16.5 14 / 116 12.0
1992 53 / 401 13.2 6 / 73 8.2
1993 38 / 293 12.9 14 / 102 13.7
Source: Annual Vice Unit Reports, Calgary and Winnipeg Police
In the fall of 1992, a "priority" was placed on the discovery, investigation and prosecution of those involved in the sexual exploitation of children. Since then the work load has continued to climb as more investigative leads are uncovered and the subject becomes more heated. (Source: Vice Unit, Year End Report 1993)
The main consequence of this was a re-deployment of personnel to pimping. Two detectives were maintained on the street prostitution file - identification of street prostitutes and stings against customers and prostitutes - a common deployment in the past. However, the other six detectives were assigned to duties which made the prosecution and conviction of pimps their primary task. Vice reasoned that persons working as prostitutes are prevented from leaving the life by pressure exerted on them by exploitative, violent pimps. Table Four reports the trends in anti-pimping control activities. Specifically, it details pimp arrests, and pimp related charges under the various subsections of 212 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Table Four. Arrests of Pimps and Pimp Related Charges, 1988-1993
Pimps Charged Pimp Related Charges
1988 7 12
1989 9 21
1990 11 20
1991 12 24
1992 22 67
1993 55 167
Source: Vice Unit, Year End Report 1993
In the six years from 1988 to 1993 some 116 persons had been charged with 311 offenses. In this period, about half the arrests occurred in 1993. As of February, 1994, Calgary Vice had succeeded in obtaining substantial penalties for pimping activities. Where s. 213 typically results in discharges or small fines in the area of $100-$300, the anti-pimp initiative was far more consequential. One individual received ten years on a first conviction. Another received six years. One of the keys to this approach is the use of Vice Detectives as expert witnesses to testify about the emotional manipulation of young females recruited by pimps to work as prostitutes. The Calgary Vice approach is a radical departure from previous law enforcement approaches, and merits examination by other departments.
From the perspective of this report, a key issue is whether the rise of trick pads and other off-street locations is a consequence of pressure created by the crack-down on street communication. Interviews with police suggest that this appears improbable. Trick pads are unknown to the vast majority of prospective 'johns' and appear to cater to networks of men who are already associated though common interests in gambling, and community recreation clubs. The adolescent prostitutes contacted by police often report prior experience with trick pads. As of 1994, only one active trick pad had been detected and shut down. However, police interviews with prostitutes suggest that the locations may be occupied for only brief periods and subsequently re-located to escape detection. Police suggest that the pimps who operate such pads recruit adolescent prostitutes, and that these persons would be a priority for control were they to be found on the strolls. The fact they are adolescents is more pertinent than s. 213. Even in the absence of the anti-communication law, there would be pressure to conceal the operation of such persons because of their age. In addition, the 'johns' who frequent the pads are not customers who would otherwise be approaching street prostitutes.
In Winnipeg police were unaware of anything comparable to trick pads in that city. Edmonton Police had reported rumours of such venues. Rumours of such arrangements were also known to social service workers in Winnipeg who were running programs for street kids. The trick pad phenomenon has been associated primarily with the Asian community, but Calgary police fear it will spread to any cohesive community which already has links through common recreational interests. The problem of trick pads was discussed at two seminars hosted by Calgary Vice. "High Heels and Teddy Bears" (September, 1993) was attended by 250 social service workers, counsellors and school officials. "High Heels and Teddy Bears II" (May, 1994) introduced the same problem to members of the general public.
Table Five. Annual Average Prostitute Counts by Stroll, 1989-1993
1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Stroll A 16.40 17.20 16.30 13.25 12.03
Stroll B 2.2 2.8 1.4 1.01 1.90
Stroll C 2.3 3.8 2.6 3.25 1.00
Source: Vice Unit, Year End Report 1993
In addition to changing populations on view in different strolls, both cities have experienced changes in the existence of certain strolls. In Calgary the C stroll around the National Hotel was closed in March of 1993 without evidence of displacement to new residential areas. Prostitutes appear to have moved to the B stroll - although neither B nor C saw more than a small handful of females working at any point in time.
In contrast to Calgary, Winnipeg has seen the appearance of a new stroll in the area of Lord Strathcona. The closure of the National Hotel stroll in Calgary and the emergence of the Lord Strathcona stroll in Winnipeg occurred for different reasons. In Winnipeg, resistance by the community to persons working on the Higgins-Martha middle track stroll, and opposition there to juveniles by older prostitutes, seems to have resulted in the appearance of street communication in the Lord Strathcona area. In addition, police have taken measures in the Martha-Higgins area to make it less attractive to 'johns'. Specifically, police installed one way directional signs, and in one case, blocked off MacDonald Avenue to create a dead end in order to stop through traffic from circulating. These changes have had the effect of minimizing the constant circulation of traffic in the neighbourhood. In the Lord Strathcona district, the completion of the Habitat Housing project - a 'sweat equity' development in a single cul de sac - led to conflict between the new occupants and the street prostitutes. Police sought to minimize this land use conflict by advising the prostitutes to relocate to adjacent non-residential streets. In addition, the city increased the visibility in the area by trimming the trees on certain streets to make the lines of view more open and installed more street lighting. In addition, traffic controls were installed to create one-way traffic flows to divert the 'johns' away from the residential area. This has significantly reduced the conflict without actually removing street soliciting from the Lord Strathcona neighbourhood.
In Calgary, after intensive lobbying by the Ingelwood Community Association, and years of complaints about condoms and needles discarded in community alley ways, the Police Commission met with owners of the National Hotel, community leaders and members of the area affected to seek a solution. In March of 1993, police erected traffic barricades to restrict movement of vehicular traffic into the streets surrounding the hotel, and advised motorists to depart the area if they had no legitimate business in it. Prostitutes were advised that their presence in the vicinity of the hotel was no longer tolerable. Most of the C stroll occupants relocated to the B stroll on Eighth Avenue in the East Village, an area with less residential and commercial impact. The National Hotel has tried to re-orient its appeal to a more middle class clientele as Inglewood experiences re-development. Although individual prostitutes are sometimes seen in the vicinity of the National Hotel, the closure appears to have been effective.
Narcotics use among persons working the C Stroll had traditionally been quite high, and most prostitutes working there would have been out of place on the hightrack. In fact, an important consideration leading police to close the stroll was the high level of violence among those involved in prostitution and narcotics - violence which appears to have been entirely unrelated to s. 213. One prostitute from the Inglewood area appeared as a witness several drug related murders. An oversight in the closure of the National Hotel stroll was a temporary collapse of the needle exchange program. When police dispersed the street trade, members from CUPS (the Calgary Urban Project Society) lost contact with clients for a period of time. The resulting lack of needle exchange may have increased exposure to needle transmitted disease.
In September 1994, a new development in Calgary embroiled the police and the Victoria Park Community Association in a heated debate over the wisdom of another stroll change. The B stroll was moved from the East Village to the area near Stampede Park. The stroll in the East Village occupied the area around a single vacant block which is bordered on the east side by an apartment building. The stroll was thought to have little impact on the community and its re-location to Victoria Park met with heated objections. In Victoria Park, the prostitutes resisted confinement to a strictly commercial location and drifted to an area of mixed commercial use and residential housing. No rationale was ever offered in the press for the move, and the effected community was gravely concerned when prostitutes began to work within a block of the community primary school. Police officials have been reluctant to discuss the situation because of the intense publicity surrounding the move. The controversy over the re-location has triggered prolonged media attention to the issue of street prostitution. One of the points which has recurrently appeared in public discussions is the futility of a policy which merely recycles prostitutes between one marginal area and another.
In 1978 Calgary introduced municipal bylaws which permitted the creation of businesses which engaged in the making of introductions between "escorts" and members of the public. Such introductions permitted the escort agencies to earn a fee of $30 to $40 dollars. It quickly became clear that the businesses were fronts for prostitution but since the telephone dispatchers had no direct knowledge of what is transacted in private between the customer and the escort, people controlling these organizations have by and large escaped prosecution under s. 212. The operation of escort appears to contradict the federal criminal code provisions which deal with living on the avails and direction and control of the movement of prostitutes. As we shall see later, police have enjoyed some success with charges under the various provisions of s. 212, particularly living on the avails of prostitution.
Calgary's by-law system was followed in part by by-laws passed in Winnipeg. However, the City of Winnipeg has not actually issued any licenses to escorts in recent years. In Calgary, the number of persons working with escort licenses is at a high point - some 256 in 1993, up from 204 in 1992. The reasons for the change in numbers of escorts in Calgary are difficult to gauge precisely. Following the re-structuring of assignments in Calgary Vice, the escort detail was disbanded. Responsibility for screening prospective escorts and agents was relegated to a secretary operating with several hours of supervision by a detective. In 1993 there was an increase in the numbers of escorts and agents approved. In fact, the number of agencies jumped from 14 in 1991 and 1992 to 20 in 1993, and the number of escorts rose from 204 (1992) to 256 (1993). However, the number of applicants turned down also increased in 1993.
There are good grounds for believing that changes in the demands for licenses may be a function of economic pressure. When the local economy contracts, and legitimate economic opportunities decline, the demand for escort licenses appears to increase. We were advised by Vice Detectives in research for our 1988 report that the reason for the dramatic annual changes in demands for licenses at that time was economic. Indeed, just about any specific measure of economic stress is significantly correlated with the acquisition of escort licenses. Graph One illustrates the correlation between business bankruptcies in Alberta and escort licenses in Calgary, and suggests a strong correlation.
Currently, the entire licensing framework is under review in Calgary. The City is re-examining its rationale for licenses of all sorts, and specifically the differences in criteria for specific licenses (i.e. requirements for police clearance or fire marshall clearance of specific kinds of businesses). The review will provide an opportunity for the municipal government to re-examine the rationale for the by laws governing the escort, exotic dancing and massage sectors.
What makes these trends interesting from the perspective of public policy is the idea that even in the off-street trade, acquisition of work as a prostitute reflects disadvantage - in this case, economic marginalization. In terms of the question of violence against prostitutes, it is noteworthy that there is no evidence that escorts are pimped and forced to prostitute against their will. Nonetheless, there have been several convictions under s. 212 against persons who have owned and managed these establishments. Several defense counsel in Calgary have also suggested that the licensing framework is ultra vires but there have been no challenges to its legality on the basis of the division of powers. Even for police, the framework appears little more than an instrument to monitor those persons working in the off-street sector. However, they do not view it as lawful activity. This is evidenced by the exchange of information with US Customs and Immigration at the Calgary International Airport about persons who have been licensed. Several escorts have been prevented from travelling to the US because of their activities as escorts. US authorities have the power the stop entry of any persons believed to be engaged in criminal activities.
Despite the legislative grey area under which the city licenses what the federal law prohibits, the escort framework provides an attractive work situation in comparison with the street in terms of safety. Dates can be screened to some extent on the telephone. Calls from numbers which were previously a source of trouble are recorded carefully. Taxis can deliver an escort to a specific address and retrieve the escort afterwards. After arriving at an address, the escorts call back to the agency to report their safe arrival. All this mitigates against foul play since the customer's phone number, address and identity are recorded by the agency. This contrasts dramatically with trick pads in which the prostitutes are confined with numerous 'dates' who are not screened or otherwise accountable. In terms of s. 213, both escort and trick pad prostitution bypass the risks of communicating in public, but neither appears to have arisen expressly to achieve this. However, they both have the capacity to become more prevalent in the context of vigorous suppression of the street trade. In terms of safety and potential violence against prostitutes, they present radically different levels of risk to prostitutes. While it would be erroneous to think that escorts face no risks to security, the business front permits hazards to be identified and managed more successfully. In trick pads, presumably the pimps on the premises could act to minimize victimization of the prostitutes, but the latter are confined in a way that makes their easy departure out of the question. Here the hazards of abuse develop because of the absence of a legitimizing framework.
In the next section we examine trends in violence against women, including prostitutes.
The occurrence reports included the following information: case number, crime code, date and time at which the offense started and stopped, address of the crime scene, age and occupation of the victim and the type of location where the crime occurred. Printouts of the annual records ran from 50 to 75 pages each. Table Six, Prostitutes and Others (p. 11), presents the offense numbers by crime, by status (prostitute or other) and by year. Over the 10 year period, some 2.7% of victimizations of females in Calgary involved prostitutes. Graph Two summarizes the overall victimization levels of prostitutes and other women on an annual basis from 1983 to 1994.
The record of homicides recorded in the Calgary police computer system does not correspond exactly to the records of murders reported in the media. In some cases, the murders were recorded in RCMP jurisdictions outside the city.
We examined assaults (at all three levels), sexual assaults (at all three levels), other assaults, as well as robberies - all this in addition to murders (first, second degree and manslaughter). To determine whether the trends in victimization reflect the changing levels of female victimization generally, we examined all cases of female victimization in the designated crime categories. The trends suggest that the changing victimization of prostitutes reflects the changing victimization of all females in Calgary.
By summing all forms of victimization enumerated above, it is possible to make some inferences about the trends. First of all, there is a significant increase in the total numbers of incidents involving all female victims. The total number of cases nearly doubled from 1984 with over 1500 reports to 3000 reports in 1993. However, the proportion of complaints arising from female prostitutes generally fell from 3.5 to 4% of total incidents down to 2 to 2.3%. Yet, the absolute number of incidents increased (n=56 in 1984 versus n=72 in 1993). On the whole, the trends suggest that the victimization of prostitutes appears to be distributed much like the victimization of women generally.
Graph Two depicts the trends in victimization of prostitutes and non-prostitutes over the ten year period. It is based on an aggregation of all the categories included in Table Six. The correlation between prostitute and non-prostitute trends in victimization is quite strong (.813) although the prostitute values appear more erratic. Because the two series vary so greatly in magnitude, the data were standardized and represented as z-scores. The peak in 1991 and sharp declines thereafter reflect the overall trends in Calgary crime. According to the 1993 Annual Report, Calgary took a record 191,953 reports in '91, 180,985 in '92 and 172,637 in '93. This decline is quite evident in Graphs Two and Three.
There are serious questions associated with these data. It is not known how often prostitutes - or others - actually make complaints of victimization to the police. This does not present too much of a problem if the attrition is more or less constant over time, but we have no way of knowing whether this is the case. A second problem concerns the size of the population at risk. It is possible to estimate the rate of victimizations for females in Calgary since we can estimate the numbers of females in the city at each point in time. However, the number of prostitutes working in any one year is simply an estimate. One informant in Calgary Vice put the number of prostitutes working in the city in any one year at 600. Other informants put the number as high as 2,000 - a figure which would include part timers. If we take treat these two estimates as a range, it is certainly possible to compare the levels of victimization of prostitutes versus other females for each of the crime categories enumerated. If we take 1993 as an illustration, we see that although the absolute numbers of crimes against prostitutes are only a fraction of the overall record, the rate of victimization is enormously higher than for the non-prostitute female population. In every category, whether the rate is based on an estimate of 600 prostitutes (Rate 1) or 2000 (Rate 2), prostitutes are far more likely to be murdered (20 times higher), assaulted (1.7 times higher), raped (9.2 times higher) and robbed (16 times higher). For the purpose of Table Seven, Calgary's female population was estimated at 365,000 (i.e. half of 730,000).
Table Seven. Crimes Against Prostitutes and Other Women, Calgary for 1993. Numbers and Rates Per 100,000 Population
Offenses: No. Rate 1 Rate 2 No. Rate
Homicide 1 166 50 9 2.4
Assault Level One 13 2,166 650 1,732 474
Assault Level Two 14 2,333 700 548 150.1
Assault Level Three 2 333 100 14 383
Sexual Assault One 22 3,666 1,100 432 118.3
Sexual Assault Two 1 166 50 57 15.6
Sexual Assault Three 0 -- -- 2 .54
Other Assault 0 -- -- 6 1.6
Street Robbery 18 3,000 900 199 54.5
Source: Calgary Police Service Computer Records
Another problem in trying to make sense of the trends in crimes against prostitutes is that changes in the numbers of persons working are unknown. Certainly, the numbers of females on view has been declining over the past several years - although the numbers working in the escort sector have increased. If the numbers of persons working have been declining, then the upward trends illustrated in Graph Two are actually much steeper than they appear, since they show increasing levels of victimization as the population at risk is declining.
Another possibility is that more persons are involved in street prostitution in recent years, but that they work infrequently or irregularly on a needs basis. In this scenario, while the trends in victimization may be increasing, the slope (i.e the rate of change) would be less steep.
In the next graphs (Three, Four and Five), we examine the trends in assault, sexual assault and robbery. The various "levels" of offense have been summed since an examination of each separate category did not reveal any discernible trends. Unfortunately, the trends for victimization of prostitutes are highly erratic over the ten year period. They repeatedly track in opposite directions in alternative years, a pattern which escapes normal time series expectations. Even so, the general trend in prostitution assaults appears to reflect the curve of female non-prostitution assault. Assaults make up the largest component of the overall victimization record which formed the basis of Graph Two. The summation of all types of victimization (Graph Two) tends to provide a smoother curve than anything observed when we break down the total into its constituent elements (assault, sexual assault and robbery).
Graphs Three, Four and Five are "double y" graphs. They compare the trends for prostitutes and others over the 10 year period, 1984-1993. The reader is cautioned to note that the "double y" graphs employ different scales on each side of the graph. The objective of the graphs is to determine through a simple "eyeball" comparison, whether the two lines behave similarly over time. If they do, then it is possible to infer that a common process produces the changes.
Again, there is strong evidence of clear oscillation in opposite directions in alternative years. Whatever the process which results in these complaints, it produces inconsistent outcomes, in contrast to the victimization of non-prostitutes which appears to
rise to a peak in 1989 and decline thereafter. This should make us sceptical about the reliability of the time series for prostitutes. We are not discounting the picture of
victimization. What we are getting at is that some artifact such as inconsistent reporting may alter the reliability of the prostitute complaints - or that the numbers of victimizations are so small that they exhibit the high levels of variation in the annual shifts in directions which we have recorded.
Similar trends are noted in the case of robberies.The trends comparing prostitutes and non-prostitutes show little collinearity - both lines show inconsistent patterns in terms of direction. The robbery of prostitutes is no more on the rise than the robbery of other female victims. The means in the 1990s are higher than those of the 1980s but the trends are hardly clear cut. We cannot draw any clear conclusion based on these data. Similar trends are noted in the case of robberies. The trends comparing prostitutes and non prostitutes show little collinearity - both lines show inconsistent patterns in terms of direction. The robbery of prostitutes is no more on the rise than the robbery of other female victims. The means in the 1990s are higher than those of the 1980s but the trends are hardly clear cut. We cannot draw any clear conclusion based on these data.
Similar trends are noted in the case of robberies. The trends comparing prostitutes and non-prostitutes show little collinearity - both lines show inconsistent patterns in terms of direction. The robbery of prostitutes is no more on the rise than the robbery of other female victims. The means in the 1990s are higher than those of the 1980s but the trends are hardly clear cut. We cannot draw any clear conclusion based on these data.
The overall trends in the co-variance of prostitute victimization with female victimization generally is the conclusion I find most compelling. Yet, the de-composition of the overall patterns in terms of assault, sexual assault and robbery suggests that in each of these areas, the picture is more complicated. There is so much instability in the prostitute victimization trends that one is hard pressed to attribute these to some constant factor, such as s. 213. Such trends may simply result from inconsistency in reports of victimization among prostitutes - and certainly we were advised by Calgary Vice that prostitutes were frequently disinclined to lodge complaints. Alternatively, the variation may stem from the smaller numbers of complainants arising from this subpopulation. Even allowing for this, the radical shifts in the direction of complaints from year to year is evident in robbery victimization whether involving prostitutes or others. It is significant that the robbery numbers are relatively low in comparison with assault and that low numbers appear to be relatively unstable. This makes it more important to look at the overall trend, and the overall trend suggests that changes in the levels of violence against prostitutes reflect changes in the level of violence against all women.
In creating a list of the kind required for this report, there are some relevant classification considerations. Generally speaking, news accounts of "murdered prostitutes" provoke images of persons well known to the sex trade who suddenly go missing and whose remains are subsequently uncovered at some remote point of disposal. The bodies are examined and the cause of death is classified as homicide. That image presupposes a lot of things: that the person is not merely missing but deceased, that the remains were discovered, that they were identified successfully, that the cause of death could be determined, that the death was actually homicide, that the person was actually involved in prostitution and that the disappearance was related to prostitution as opposed to some unrelated abduction. Most of the cases meet these requirements but obviously drawing such a conclusion is a complex inference. Several areas of ambiguity arose in some of the Calgary and Winnipeg cases. In several cases the identification of the corpse was difficult due to decomposition, and the cause of death inconclusive. In one case, even when the identity was quickly established, and the cause of death determined (asphyxiation), inferring homicidal strangulation or misadventure was another question.
In addition to these considerations, two other types of problems arose (one case of each). The first case occurred in circumstances where the homicide resembled that of persons known to have worked as prostitutes but where the involvement of the victim in prostitution was not well established or was simply unknown. This type of case might include street people, drug dealers or other people at the margins of society who have been murdered but who may not have established reputations as prostitutes, and whose deaths may or may not have occurred because of involvement in prostitution. Another type of case includes the victim of homicide who was not involved in illegitimate activities but whose body appears to have been discarded in the same manner as that of a murdered street prostitute.
These last two types of cases are included since a common pattern suggests that the type or types of persons who murder prostitutes may murder other women in similar ways, and that the victims may share common vulnerabilities. At times, newspaper reportage blurs the distinction by reviewing cases as unsolved female homicides at one point and as unsolved prostitution murders at another. In each case, the plurality of victims have been prostitutes. Combining these different sorts of cases, we identified a total of 20 homicide victims - 14 from Calgary, and 3 each from Winnipeg and Edmonton. They are presented in order of occurrence since 1985.
Calgary Cases Since 1985
1. Elaine Kraushner, age 26, was last seen alive while working on the high track stroll in Calgary on Friday, July 18, 1986. Her body was discovered by a sports fisherman on Saturday, July 19, 1986. It had been deposited about 35 kilometres west of Calgary under the Little Jumping Pound Creek bridge on Highway 68 just six kilometres south of the Trans-Canada Highway. The coroner's report indicated that Kraushner had died of suffocation. The Calgary Sun (July 22, 1986) reported that she was "killed by a customer." Kaushner was familiar to the police as a prostitute on the main stroll as early as 1980. The Sun report suggested that "if anything doesn't surface in a couple of days, RCMP will contact authorities in Ponoka where Edmonton hooker Janelle Annette Mercredi, 20, was found murdered". The police warned prostitutes "to be on the lookout for a man driving a later model brown car seeking bondage or domination acts."
In a subsequent report in the Sun under the headline "Law Helped Kill Hooker," journalist Daryl Carlson wrote "prostitutes are blaming the brutal murder of hooker Elaine Kraushner on local police enforcement of a new federal law that prohibits buying or selling sex in public" (July 23, 1986). The explanation advanced in the paper was the "normal guys aren't coming down here anymore". An alternative view was expressed by a Calgary Vice spokesman who suggested that "if a murderer is going to pick up a girl and kill her, he'll do it regardless of the law." Composite drawings circulated by the RCMP among Calgary prostitutes which seemed to suggest that the customer was "a regular" (Sun, July 25, 1986) did not result in a break in the case. This case has not been cleared.
2. Less than six months later, Annette Leger, age 21, disappeared from the main stroll at some time after 8:00 to 10:00 pm on New Years Day, 1987 (Sun, January 8, 1987; Herald, January 17, 1987). Notices of her disappearance were carried in the Sun on January 13 and again on February 9, and in the Herald on January 17. Her naked and badly decomposed body was found on June 4, 1987, face down in a culvert on Highway 10 south of Drumheller (east of Calgary). It was not possible to determine the cause of death. An RCMP spokesman suggested that there was nothing obvious to link the murders of Leger and Kraushner (Calgary Herald, June 16, 1987). The case has not been cleared.
3. Over a year later in 1988, Sheila Leza Ritchie, age 20, disappeared and her body was found on May 17. She had runaway from her family and became involved in the street scene in Calgary. There was no evidence in the press that she had worked as a prostitute. She was shot to death and her body was found in a farmer's field near 84th Street and 66th Avenue SE (Glenmore Trail and Sheppard Road). Subsequently, a 29 year old man was charged with Ritchie's murder but was acquitted in October, 1989. In a review of outstanding cases prompted by a later murder in January, 1990, Ritchie's case was identified as unresolved (Calgary Herald, January 10, 1990).
4. Two violent murders of prostitutes came to light in April, 1989. In the first, the naked body of Edith Ann Ferraz, age 18, was found by a maintenance man in a garbage dumpster beside a northwest Calgary apartment building early on Saturday morning, April 22nd. She had been strangled. According to the Herald, "Ferraz, who was known to frequent the stroll, was last seen there. Police believe she was killed by a man she met that night." (Calgary Herald, April 26, 1989).
Ferraz had had a troubled adolescence. After a family breakup, she had been made a temporary ward of the province and lived for 6 months in a treatment facility at Woods Homes in 1985 before running away and working as a street prostitute.
Stephen Gregory Brill, age 18, was charged with first degree murder the morning that the body was discovered. Brill lived in a basement suite of the apartment where the body was found. He confessed that he had picked up Ferraz for a date and that she escorted him to his apartment. In February, 1991, he pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 10 years. In a confession to police, Brill had said that "Ferraz ridiculed his performance and a pushing match ensued." He punched her and choked her for about two minutes not intending to kill her (Calgary Herald, February 14, 1991, B1). Before sentencing he apologized to the family of the victim, suggesting that the murder was essentially accidental.
5. The second April case appeared in Calgary papers on the Tuesday following the discovery of the body of Edith Ferraz on Saturday April 22. This case involved the discovery of the bloody remains of a young female by a real estate agent in a deserted granary east of Calgary on farm property near Dalroy which had been put on sale (Calgary Herald, April, 25, 1989). Subsequent investigation identified the deceased as Chrissy Mowat, a 15 year old runaway who had worked as a prostitute. She had been shot to death in February but the body "didn't come to light until 10 weeks later" (Calgary Herald, May 30, 1991).
Donald James MacGregor was convicted of first degree murder in 1989 and sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years. MacGregor had been Mowat's pimp, and Mowat was scheduled to testify against another pimp charged with sexual assault and living on the avails of another teenager (Calgary Herald, January 12, 1990). Six bullets were fired at the scene, and Mowat appears to have been executed by MacGregor to protect the other pimp. MacGregor's appeal of conviction and sentence was rejected in 1991. At the appeal, MacGregor threatened the life of the Crown prosecutor (Calgary Herald, May 30, 1991).
6. The next case also involved an adolescent. The partially clad body of Joanne Shaver, age 17, was found on January 10, 1990. She had been dumped on a remote country road on the outskirts of the city on Sheppard Road SE near Highway 22X. She had been sexually assaulted, experiencing vaginal injuries, and she had been strangled. Shaver had become a ward of the province four years previously, and had been living at Woods Homes. She had completed the 8th grade. According to reports in the Herald, she had been prostituting as early as age 12 (Calgary Herald, January 11, 1990). Joanne Shaver and Chrissy Mowat, the girl murdered 8 months earlier, had been friends.
Within days, James Arthur Link, age 29, was charged with first degree murder (Calgary Herald, January 14, 1990). Following a trial by judge, he was acquitted. Link had been released from penitentiary about two weeks before the murder. His prior four year imprisonment had been for the near fatal assault of a prostitute that he had left for dead. While in prison he was denied parole, failed to get mandatory supervision, and was ultimately released on the expiry of warrant. 'Similar fact evidence' was led the Crown to link him to Shaver's murder, but was ruled inadmissible. The injuries inflicted in the Shaver case were similar to the injuries inflicted in the previous near fatal assault - a factor which aided his identification. The 'similar fact evidence' was excluded at trial, as was the Crown's attempt to have contradictory exculpatory admissions from the accused given in custody. Both were ruled inadmissible and the case collapsed. In his judgment, the trial judge criticized the police methods of questioning the suspect (Calgary Herald, November 10, 1990). An acquittal was registered in spite of the fact that "three of Shaver's hairs were found in Link's truck, along with a fibre from her sweater, and a hair on her sweater matched Link's" (Calgary Herald, November 9, 1990). This circumstantial evidence was not enough to remove a reasonable doubt. The Crown appeal of the acquittal was rejected by the Court of Appeal (Calgary Herald, 28 May 1991). Although Link was acquitted, the case is considered closed.
7. In the following year, the semi-nude body of Shawna Van Der Basch, age 20, was found on June 20, 1991, in a ditch beside a gravel road south-west of Calgary near the town of Priddis. This was the first of three murders in 1991. The evening before the body was discovered, Miss Van Der Basch had been seen in a downtown nightclub in the company of a man with whom she left after midnight. She had been in Calgary for six months since moving from Vancouver. She had worked as a hairdresser and as an escort. The cause of death was strangulation. Shawna Van Der Basch was not known as a street prostitute and nothing was published about her activities as an escort. However, the way the body was discarded bears comparison with both previous and subsequent cases.
On June 22, Isidro Hernandez, age 42, was charged with second degree murder. Mr. Hernandez had worked at the same hair salons with Miss Van Der Basch in both Calgary and Vancouver. Charges against Mr. Hernandez were dropped in December as a result of DNA testing which failed to link him to the murder (Calgary Herald, December 19, 1991). The case remains open. In the view of the investigating officers, the case of Van Der Basch is not appropriately classified as a prostitute murder in spite of her license as a Calgary escort.
8. The second 1991 case involved an adolescent. Jennifer Janz's body was unearthed at a construction site on August 13 near Valley Ridge Road and the Trans-Canada Highway on the western edge of Calgary in a shallow grave (Calgary Herald, August 15, 1991). She apparently died from a massive blow to the chest (Calgary Herald, August 16, 1991). She was a 16 year old who left home after completing grade nine to live with her street friends. She had attended a Christian camp in Texas in September and October of 1990 with the support of her family. Upon returning to Calgary, she tried unsuccessfully to re-enter high school and drifted back and forth between her family and the street. She was last seen by her family on July 10 when she was driven to hospital by her father for medical treatment. She appeared close to becoming reconciled with her family in the weeks before she disappeared (Calgary Herald, October 6, 1991). Whether she was involved in street prostitution was not publicly disclosed. The case has not been cleared.
9. The third 1991 case came to attention within days of the Janz murder. Jennifer Joyes, age 17, was reported missing from her group home on August 30, having last been seen at the home on August 10th. Her nude and partially de-composed body was found in a wooded area near Springbank west of the city limits on October 7, 1991 (Calgary Herald, October 8, 1991) - two kilometres south of the spot where Jennifer Janz's body was found on August 13 (Calgary Herald, Oct. 9, 1991). The body had been in the area for at least a month, according to police. The cause of death was not publicized.
Joyes had been identified by the police on the main stroll - and had been "chased off" without arrest under s. 213 (Calgary Herald, October 11, 1991). Joyes was living as a provincial ward following the death of her mother in a 1986 traffic accident. Her father was living in another city. She had been placed in a group home and had just shifted to an independent living program funded by Family and Social Services at the time of her disappearance (Calgary Herald, October 10, 1991).
The Janz and Joyes cases were similar and prompted media speculation about a common killer (Calgary Herald, October 16, 1991). There was no indication the two girls knew each other (Calgary Herald, October 10, 1991). Also, the question of involvement in prostitution is ambiguous in these 2 cases. In its initial coverage of the Janz case, no mention was made of prostitution. In the case of Joyes, prostitution was implicated. However, in a later review of the cases, the emphasis was switched as the lifestyle of Janz was given as "prostitute" while that of Joyes was "troubled teen" (Calgary Herald, November 3, 1992). Neither case has not been cleared.
10. Four cases appeared in 1992. The first case involved Keeley Louise Pincott, age 29. News reports described Pincott as a "mother, barmaid and waitress" (Calgary Herald, November 3, 1992). Pincott went missing after working as a barmaid several days before her body was discovered. There was no evidence that she was involved in street prostitution. The cause of death is unknown or unpublished. The remains were found 2 kilometres north of Cochrane in a shallow grave in a dead end road used as a 'lover's lane' on 10 March, 1992 (Calgary Herald, March 12, 1992). Police identified the body as that of Pincott shortly thereafter. The location of the remains some 40 kilometres north west of Calgary raised questions about a common killer in the Janz, Joyes and Pincott cases (Calgary Herald, March 12, 1992). In September, 1994, an Edmonton RCMP crime analyst suggested that police had a suspect in the three murders but insufficient evidence for an arrest. Subsequent reports have failed to substantiate this.
11. The next case involved Tracy Lynn Maunder who was a 26 year old single mother. She was seen by the building manager in the apartment complex where she lived on October 28, 1992 and her appearance was confirmed later that evening on the main stroll by other prostitutes. Since her child was under supervision of a baby sitter, her disappearance was noticed immediately. Her partially clad body was discovered on November 1 in a grassy field in the area of 17th Ave SE between Garden and Sheppard Roads on the outskirts of Calgary. She had been beaten and stabbed to death. She was survived by an 11 year old son - a son she bore when she was only 14 years old. She had worked previously as a waitress, and had been prostituting for about 6 months prior to her murder, apparently to support her son. At the time of her murder, she was battling cancer. In subsequent investigations, the RCMP discovered a knife near the scene of the crime (Calgary Herald, November 7, 1992). The case has not been cleared.
12. The third 1992 case involved Claudette Collette Anctil. Her body was found beside an apartment building at 1339 10th Avenue SE. She was 27 years old, and was known by the police to frequent the low track stroll around the National Hotel. She was also known as a narcotics user. She disappeared late on Wednesday, December 2 and her bloodied body was discovered early on December 3, 1992. The police did not release the cause of death (Calgary Herald, 4 December 1992).
Daniel Patrick Simpson, age 42, was charged with first degree murder on Monday, December 7th. He was known as an associate of Anctil's at the National Hotel bar scene. He was arrested when he appeared in court to face narcotics charges. Anctil's death appears to have arisen about disputes over debts associated with drugs. In subsequent proceedings in 1993, charges against Simpson were stayed for reasons unstated (Calgary Herald, January 2, 1994). Prosecutors apparently did not have sufficient evidence to support a conviction.
13. The fourth 1992 case was brought to our attention by Calgary police. This case involved a transsexual, Jean McMaster. No story appeared in The Herald. It is not known whether McMaster was working as a prostitute nor is the cause of death known at this time. This case is uncleared.
14. The most recent Calgary case involved Rebecca Boutilier, age 20. Boutilier had worked the streets since age 17 and had had problems with narcotics. She was reported missing by her mother on February 12, 1993 after failing to return home to care for her 14 month old child (Herald February 17, 1993; Herald, March 3, 1993). The reports in the press in February and March detailed her mother's attempts to circulate the photograph of her missing daughter to help track down her whereabouts.
On Thursday March 11, 1993 a naked body was discovered in a crop field in the extreme northwest outskirts of the city. There were obvious "wound marks" on the body which was partially covered by grass (Calgary Herald, March 12, 1993). The body was identified on Friday as that of Boutilier but at the time there were outstanding reports of three missing females anyone of whom could have been identified. Police questioned Boutilier's estranged common law husband, Stanley Wayne Selinger, age 28. Selinger was due to appear in court on February 26 to face assault charges involving Boutilier and their son, Avery, arising from an incident reported December 30, 1992. Because of Boutilier's disappearance on February 12, the assault case was adjourned (Calgary Herald, March 13, 1993). Selinger was never charged in the homicide. However, the assault case was brought to trial along with related charges on July 27. The Crown dropped the assault charges and Selinger pled guilty to 2 charges of possession of a restricted weapon - a switchblade and martial arts sticks and was fined $800 (Calgary Herald, July 28, 1993). This homicide has not been cleared.
In the aftermath of the Boutilier murder, experts from the RCMP, Calgary, Edmonton as well as the FBI and the OPP met to discuss similarities in the outstanding cases and to examine possible leads and clues regarding the perpetrators in the unsolved homicides (Calgary Herald, March 19, 1993). This was only one of an on-going sequence of consultations between the RCMP and city police to exchange information on the outstanding cases (Calgary Herald, May 7, 1993).
By way of review of the Calgary cases, it must be emphasized that in spite of the similarities in the way bodies have been discarded, these cases do not all involve prostitution. Ritchie, Van Der Basch and Pincott were not street prostitutes and were not abducted from the street. In the cases of Janz and Joyes, the evidence is ambiguous as to their involvement with street prostitution. And finally, in the case of Anctil, the murder may have involved woman engaged in prostitution, but the circumstances of her death point to factors beyond prostitution in her demise.
Winnipeg Cases Since 1985
There are three Winnipeg cases. The first two were mentioned in the Free Press in a review of "unsolved prostitute slayings dating back to the early 1980s, including Charlene Orsulak in January 1987 and Susan Holens in April 1989. Both were local teenage prostitutes" (Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1991).
15. On May 23, 1988 the decomposed body of Charlene Orsulak was found in remote bush near Matlock north of Winnipeg near the southwest end of Lake Winnipeg. RCMP investigators from Gimli reported that the remains had been left 12 to 15 months earlier. Orsulak was 17 at the time of her death some time in the winter of 1987. She had attended high school in Stony Mountain, just north of Winnipeg, and had dropped out early in grade 11 in the fall of 1986.
Shortly after her body was discovered, several street people were able to identify her as a Winnipeg prostitute from earlier photographs circulated by outreach workers. "Orsulak was last seen in mid-January 1987 while she was working as a prostitute" (Winnipeg Free Press, April 16, 1989). However, Orsulak appears to have been alienated from her family and had few personal contacts in Winnipeg since no report of a missing person had been filed even though she was missing for over a year (Winnipeg Free Press, June 16, 1988). It is not known how she died or whether the death occurred while working as a prostitute. This case has not been cleared.
16. The body of 15 year old Susan Holens was discovered in the early morning on April 13 in a drainage ditch outside the Winnipeg city limits by a construction worker. She was seen last the night before on the Martha-Higgins stroll (Winnipeg Free Press, April 15, 1989). The cause of death was asphyxiation. At the time Holens had been living in a treatment facility for troubled adolescents. Holens appears to have come from a fairly stable middle class background. She had been adopted as an infant but developed coping problems following the death of her mother from cancer when Susan was 8 years old. As an adolescent she was scapegoated in school because of her darker Native complexion. She became a rebellious runaway who dropped out of school and developed a serious intravenous drug dependency (Winnipeg Free Press, June 22, 1991). In 1989, she maintained contact with family members and was taking steps to deal with her drug problem at the time of her disappearance.
Although the cause of death was asphyxiation, the provincial coroner subsequently indicated that in the absence of struggle, bruising or evidence of strangulation, the death may have resulted from "misadventure" and "could have been accidental" (Winnipeg Free Press, April 18, 1989). Asphyxiation may occur accidentally from sexual hypoxia produced from a plastic bag. If such an accident happened, the person or persons with Holens may have disposed of her body in a panic. The circumstances of the death have not been established and the case remains uncleared.
In an update associated with the Holens story, The Free Press indicated another teenage female was found murdered in Winnipeg in suspicious circumstances. "The beaten body of Cheryl Duck, 15, was found face-down in a field in the Maples area of Winnipeg in December 1987. Police have yet to solve her murder" (Winnipeg Free Press, April 16, 1989). The Maples-Martha-Higgins area is associated with street prostitution, but whether Cheryl Duck was working as a prostitute could not be determined.
17. Victoria Irene Cook, age 20, was picked up by a customer in the area of Main and Higgins on March 7, 1991. Her frozen body was found on March 14th tucked behind a dumpster located in a dimly lit warehouse lot. She was semi-clad and wrapped in plastic (Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 1991).
The case was cleared on March 19 when Christian Woermann turned himself in and pled guilty to second degree murder. Woermann, an auto mechanic, had no police record and was described by neighbours "as a quiet man who never caused any trouble" (Winnipeg Free Press,, March 19, 1991). He picked up Cook for a date. She accompanied him to his house and, according to Woermann's evidence, a fight occurred when Cook tried to steal some $700 from him, at which point in a fit of temper he beat and strangled her. He did not intend to murder her. He kept her body behind his garage until the evening of the 13th, at which point he transported it at night to the St. James area and concealed it behind the dumpster.
Other Cases Reported in Calgary and Winnipeg Press
18. Janelle Annette Mercredi, age 20, was known to Edmonton police as an Edmonton prostitute. Her body was found near Ponoka in 1986. She had been murdered. This case was noted in press reports of the Kraushner case mentioned above. Since the circumstances of her disappearance have not been established, it is unclear whether her murder occurred in the context of her work as a prostitute. It has not been cleared.
19. Georgette Elizabeth Flint, age 20, an Edmonton prostitute went missing from one of Edmonton's three strolls in early September, 1991, according to her mother. Her partially clad body was discovered in mid-September in a heavily wooded area of Elk Island National Park, about 35 kilometres east of Edmonton. Fingerprints, dental and medical records were used in identifying the corpse, but the cause of death was unpublished (Calgary Herald, September 17, 1988). Flint was last reported seen by her mother over two weeks before the body was discovered. According to media reports, Flint had quit school at grade 10 and became involved in prostitution to support a drug habit. This case has not been cleared.
Flint's case gained public attention because of the efforts of her mother, Lynn Karpetz, to mobilize along with Kathleen Bell-Younger an association of parents of prostitutes to lobby for more active suppression of prostitution. Bell-Younger came to public attention in Vancouver when she kidnapped her daughter to force her off the streets. "MAPS" - Mothers Against Pimps and Sodomites - does not appear to have achieved the momentum of MADD, another community based criminal control group.
20. Elaina Louise Ross, 25, was found dead under a bed in a west end Edmonton hotel on February 11, 1993. Because of problems with security with the back entrance, the hotel may have been frequented by prostitutes without knowledge of the hotel management. Ross was familiar to the police as a local prostitute. Ross had told workers at the Crossroads outreach agency in Edmonton that she had first started working as a prostitute when she was 10 years old. By the time the body was discovered, she had been dead for at least 4 days. The cause of death was unknown but treated as homicide. The case has not been cleared. The Edmonton Journal story reported that "this is the sixth suspicious death of a city prostitute since 1986" (reprinted in Calgary Herald, February 13, 1993).
If we move from attitudes to actual experiences, a somewhat different picture emerges. We asked the respondents directly about violence. 'While working the street, have you ever experienced violence from a customer? a pimp? a boyfriend? other street girls? police officers? others?' We asked how many times such things occurred, as well as whether there was ever medical assistance sought regarding the injuries from such assaults. Table Nine reports the outcomes from these questions.
Table Nine. Experience of Violence By Source, Frequency and Medical Attention
Sources Indicating Yes Frequency Attention
Customer 11 32 4
Pimp 4 22 4
Boyfriend 9 38 2
Other street prostitutes 4 11 0
Police officers 4 9 1
Others 1 1 0
These responses indicate that better than two thirds of the respondents had been assaulted by customers and that a full quarter had had medical attention as a result. Reported violence by pimps was reported less frequently but "boyfriends" were almost as dangerous as customers and registered a larger number of assaults. Boyfriends are frequently a euphemistic term for pimp, albeit one with less opprobrium. The finding of such high levels of violence by boyfriends, customers and pimps is troublesome since it suggests that young women who are leaving adverse conditions in their home and who drift to work on the streets continue to experience disturbing levels of violence in their personal lives. Their predicament is not merely the intrusive violence of dates with strangers, but violence with intimates.
In summary, the impact of the law was perceived greatest in the area specifically covered by the law - the actual public communication process. Other consequences did not seem to be implicated at least in the perception of the majority of these respondents.
We also asked the respondents about their relationship with the police. "How would you characterize the way the local police have treated you?" The most prevalent response was "they are very helpful" (n=6) followed by "they are open minded" (n=3). Only three thought "they are hostile." Where there was hostility, the major source of tension appears to have surrounded use of narcotics and its suppression by the police. As for the anti communication law, the respondents were fatalistic. If they were going to get arrested, there was little they could do about it. So even though the police were viewed as a major source of harassment in the form of undercover sting operations, this did not appear to undermine the perception of the police. In addition, while several respondents indicated that they had had violent encounters with police, they did not view their own behaviours as unprovocative. On the whole, the attitude of the respondents was more effected by how they perceived the police treated them in day to day interactions. And the communication law had not undermined police credibility on that score. Given the adversarial relations between the two groups, our respondents were grudgingly positive towards the police, and in fact, in situations of danger indicated that they frequently turned on police for protection and advice.
Here we combined a broad range of stories about sting operations, charges for communication and fines with stories about the pressures by community groups for suppression of prostitution. In addition there were stories of local halfway houses and other municipal attempts to regulate the trade (civic licensing, naming the johns, etc.) The stories were overwhelming local in origin - 126 local stories versus 18 wire service stories for a total of 144. This was the second largest category of stories.
(iii) Violence in Prostitution. These stories covered a range of topics - violence against prostitutes including murder, assaults, abductions, rape as well as stories focusing on the dangerousness and lack of safety on the street. This was the third largest category (Total number=102).
(iv) Exploitation of Prostitutes. These stories focused on themes of prostitution as sexual slavery, exploitation by pimps, and trick pads. This was the fourth largest category (Total number=80).
(v) Child Prostitution. A series of stories highlighted the issue of the young age and vulnerability of children and adolescents working as prostitutes (Total number=31).
(vi) Social Conditions. These were largely background pieces covering the relationship of prostitution to the economy, problems of victimization in the background of runaways, parental actions, and pressures to turn to and to leave the street life (Total number=28).
(vii) Initiatives by Prostitutes. Stories which discussed steps taken by prostitutes to protect themselves, to lobby against the law, and actions by advocacy groups were examined in this category (Total number=14).
(viii) Indirect Social Issues. A small number of stories discussed the social problems associated with prostitution in an indirect way - the AIDS problem, the problem of the permissive society and the role of the media in depicting prostitution. Because this category was so vague, it effectively consisted of stories and opinion columns about social problems which did not fit better into one of the previous categories (Total number=36).
(ix) Miscellaneous. Any stories that did not touch on one of the previous categories ended up in this category (Total=14).
There are obvious limitations with this approach. We were forced to classify every story into a single category even though it might touch on several related themes. In addition, the question about which category or categories are relevant is a subjective one. To resolve the first problem we made a priority of classifying stories into the categories of greatest relevance to the project - violence against prostitutes as well as stories of exploitation and of child prostitution since these all emphasize the theme of victimization. To resolve the second problem, all the stories were read and classified by two coders to increase the reliability of classification.
One attraction of media analysis is that it allows some assessment of the on-going "direction" of the stories. Over the decade, some categories expand while some contract as the news and public interests shift. For example, the Fraser Committee generated a great deal of interest in legal aspects of prostitution during 1984 and 1985. Likewise, the focus on pimping, child exploitation in the sex industry and trick pads by Calgary Vice resulted in an expansion of public exposure to these themes in the early 1990s. In Graph Seven we capture these important trends. Since some of the categories had very few annual entries, they have been omitted in favour of a comparison of the three leading areas. These consisted of Legal Stories (n=154), Community Stories (n=144) and Victimization Stories (n=213). The Victimization category combines reports of violence against prostitutes, reports of child prostitution and reports of exploitation involving prostitutes. The Legal and Community interests were extremely prevalent in the beginning and the end of the decade, dropping somewhat in the mid-range period. However, as Graph Seven makes clear, the focus on Victimization has grown tremendously since 1988 and has become the single most common type of emphasis in the media.
The reasons for growth in the victimization perspective are many-fold. In addition to the increased numbers of homicides among prostitutes, there has been a great deal of concern over the age of many of the victims. The focus on adolescents working in the sex trade has also grown since about 1988 when the matter was first raised with the Calgary Police Commission. The National Consultation on Prostitution held in Calgary in 1993 similarly stressed this factor. And finally, the Calgary Vice Unit has hosted two high profile educational seminars designed to alert social workers, teachers and care givers about the risks of adolescent involvement in both street prostitution and off-street trick pads.
(1) In the discussion of the homicide cases, we noted the high levels of cases unresolved by charge and pointed out some of the factors which contributed to this pattern. These included the delays in identification of missing persons, the secrecy of those involved in the trade, the surreptitious disposal of evidence in remote locations, the absence of witnesses, etc. These are normal investigative problems encountered in homicide investigations generally.
(2) A second impediment arises from the contradictory roles assigned to the police and their relations with victims in the sex trade. Suppression of communication by street prostitutes makes the latter suspicious of the police and reluctant to confide in them when their assistance might be required. We were advised by both police and prostitutes that only some (undetermined) fraction of the cases of robbery and assault against street prostitutes are actually reported. On the other hand, the Vice detectives have made a concerted effort in Calgary to reach out to young prostitutes who are danger and who might require emergency shelter, transportation, counselling or other assistance. They have distributed their business cards on the street and have made themselves available by phone and pager at any time. In both Calgary and Winnipeg, the senior Vice staff have good working relationships with people in the child care sector - sometimes very close personal ties - and contacts for delivery of care on an emergency basis. Evidence of the success of this approach is available indirectly in the sharp rise in the number of pimps who have been charged. These charges are virtually impossible without the assistance of victims of exploitation. In short, while there are impediments in communication between prostitutes and the police, the adoption of a victimological agenda has been a successful method of bridging these differences and establishing trust and cooperation necessary to bring more offenses to police attention.
(3) A third consideration arises from split jurisdiction in a number of the homicide cases. Prostitutes typically work in the city and are identified and photographed by municipal police on the strolls. However, the deposition of bodies in rural areas usually puts the homicides into RCMP jurisdictions. The homicides then fall to experienced Mounties in the Major Crimes Division. These officers may not have the local experience and leads which senior city police acquire with specific members of the criminal element within the city. Nonetheless, all outstanding homicides are catalogued in a common provincial record which is distributed to all homicide jurisdictions in the province. This does not preclude the necessity of on-going consultations between organizations to ensure the timely exchange of information, leads and theories. This observation is not meant as a criticism of the jurisdictional division of labour but is raised as a potential complication in the investigation of cases. In point of fact, access to RCMP resources can expedite inter departmental communication between different RCMP units in other jurisdictions, and various urban police services to mobilize the exchange of information to help resolve outstanding cases.
(4) The fourth point is more statute specific. It involves the section of the Code designed to protect adolescent prostitutes from communication and/or commercial intercourse with an adult. This section provides for a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and was thought to be capable of sending a powerful signal to the 'johns' that adolescents enjoyed specific protection from advances by 'johns'. Section 213 was designed to prohibit communication with all prostitutes, but not to criminalize the sexual transaction per se. Section 212 (4) specifically forbids the acquisition of the sexual services of juvenile sellers.
In Calgary several charges have been successfully laid. The first conviction resulted in a penalty of one year incarceration on a first offense (Calgary Herald, January 28, 1993; October 26, 1993), demonstrating that the judiciary is prepared to treat the crime with the gravity parliament attached to it. However, despite the significant numbers of juveniles working as prostitutes, the charge is rarely laid. This is because the basic anti communication law has relegated the suppression of communication to undercover decoys. The police cannot use an adolescent decoy without exposing such a person to moral danger. Nor can an officer knowingly stand by until an adolescent has been prostituted before taking action against the 'john', and for the same reason. A remedy is required which permits the interception of public communications, and in which the apprehension of both seller and buyer occurs prior to the transaction of the date, e.g. on the street immediately following the pick-up.
Even if such a remedy were possible, it would not deal with the underground trick pads where the dates are transacted in secret, and where there may be no money exchanged on the premises. In that case charges under the more general provisions in S. 151 defining (non-commercial) sexual interference may be appropriate - provided the offenses could be detected. This underground sector, due to its secrecy, continues to be a site of acute danger for prostitutes, and a major challenge for law enforcement.
Had the Downey appeal succeeded, the provisions criminalizing living on the avails would have been struck down. The onus for anyone who believes he or she is falsely implicated under s. 212 (formerly s. 195) is on the accused and the defense is a rebuttal of the charge on factual grounds, as in Grilo. Ironically, both Grilo and Downey invoke the image of parasitism which is not explicitly an element of the offense.
The dancer comes into the bedroom after having given the client sufficient time to undress if he considers it appropriate, and then she carries out her show, in various positions, on the mattress. During the dance(!), or rather this show, she caresses her thighs, her breasts, her genital parts and she either masturbates or, most probably, she simulates masturbation (p. 442).
At the trial for "keeping a common bawdy house," the Crown attempted to change the information to "keeping a place for the practice of acts of prostitution." This was disallowed by the judge. The Court heard expert evidence to the effect that masturbation was therapeutic and, that in the privacy of the club, it would not offend community standards of tolerance. The accused were acquitted. The Quebec Court of Appeal reversed the acquittals and entered convictions. The Court reasoned that since the cubicles contained peep holes which permitted management and other persons to view the rooms, allegedly to ensure that no contact occurred, the activities were not private but public and that as such they amounted to acts of indecency which would not be tolerated by the community. As a result, the Court characterized the performances as prostitution. Per Broussard J.A., Malouf J.A. concurring:
Prostitution does not require actual sexual intercourse, nor need there be physical contact between the customer and the performer. Prostitution merely requires that the woman offered her body for lewdness or for the purposes of the commission of an unlawful act in return for payment. The act of offering one's self as a participant in acts of indecency, for the sexual gratification of the other, is sufficient to find prostitution. The active participation of the dancer which provoked and incited the act of indecency committed by the customer, at the very least could be defined as lewd and indecent and therefore, constitute acts for the purpose of prostitution. (p. 440)
Although prostitution per se is not an offense under the law, the maintenance of places kept for the purpose of prostitution is unlawful. Prostitution is not defined in the Criminal Code. Here prostitution was made out in two ways - as offering the body for lewdness, or for the commission of an unlawful (i.e. indecent) act. In the words of His Honour Justice Proulx J.A. "it is not necessary that there be actual sexual intercourse."
Had the matter rested there, the courts would have scotched the development of this form of commercial sex. However, the matter went to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1993. The Court reversed the Quebec Court of Appeal and restored the acquittals [2 S.C.R. 1993 932]. In the view of the majority, the peep holes were incidental and were "not used for purposes of voyeurism" so that participants had a reasonable expectation of privacy. On the issue of whether the activities in the club amounted to public indecency, the Court pointed out that there was no evidence of harm "in the sense of predisposing persons to act in an anti-social fashion...Whether the acts of simulated masturbation or masturbation itself are indecent depends on the circumstances. The lack of physical contact, although not determinative, was significant since there was little likelihood of physical harm being caused to either individual" (p. 934). The Court also noted that the "no contact" rule prevented the spread of infectious diseases, a factor which would increase community tolerance. In addition, there were no complaints about the club from neighbours or clients. In short, the majority refused to label the activities as prostitution, and found no offense.
In the aftermath of the Tremblay, criminal charges brought against the owners of Cheater's Tavern on Young Street in Toronto were thrown out by Ontario Judge Gordon Hachborn. "So-called 'dirty dancing' in public bars is not indecent according to community standards of tolerance, Hachborn ruled....And that includes dancing while nude, self fondling, masturbating customers, permitting customers to kiss, lick and suck the dancer and perform cunnilingus, the judge said" (Toronto Star, February 11, 1994, A1, A6). The club owners suggested any physical contact was not permitted despite evidence from undercover detectives that it was common. The Court refused to find evidence of indecent performances citing the acquittal determined in Tremblay. Since these decisions, there has been public concern about the spread of such exotic dance studios elsewhere, most recently in Edmonton.
It should be stressed that these proposals flow from a crime control perspective which presupposes that street prostitution is an offense and that the objective of the law is to eradicate it using means already provided by law.
On the first issue, we have identified how the suppression of pimps has become an alternative control strategy in Calgary. In addition, we have raised the possibility of re conceptualizing the criminal focus by shifting the culpability to the buyers through a strategic replacement of s. 213 with s. 212 (a) (1) and s. 212 (d). This requires a re orientation of police initiatives and it cannot expect to enjoy success without larger community consensus and political will. However, public opinion is shifting in that direction.
On the second issue, in the area of social support directed at the sellers, the community requires resources which can provide emergency shelter, food, clothing and health care. In terms of longer term needs, housing, employment and educational opportunities are also essential. Currently, such services are available to some degree. However, they tend to be provided in large institutional and quasi-institutional settings. From the perspective of public policy, it is worth asking whether as a society we should limit investment in foster parenting to $20 per day while spending $250 a day for the same individual in institutional care. Institutional care can provide creature comforts but is limited in its capacity to provide strong personal bonds which cultivate self-esteem and autonomy. In addition, we tend to fold-up the safety net for persons who may be looking for solutions after they have reached the age of majority, even though emotionally they may be quite immature. If public policy is going to be designed to terminate careers in prostitution - as the victimization perspective would propose - social supports will have to be open to "adult" prostitutes, i.e. young women 18-24 and older.
The general objectives of the victimization perspective would be as follows. First, limit the dangers to sellers generally by eradicating the opportunities for street prostitution by countermanding the demand side. Second, limit the attraction of pimping similarly by reducing the opportunities to exploit the underground economy generated by the prostitution and narcotics income. And third, address the social disadvantages of young persons who are marginalized because of family conflict and early home leaving, and who are vulnerable to entrapment in the underground economy by designing broadly based social services, and so displace the reliance on corrections applied to people who only come to official attention following criminal activity.