Preface: The Victimization of Prostitutes




AUGUSTINE BRANNIGAN 1995


In December of 1985, Parliament passed Bill C-49. It created a summary offense for anyone communicating in public for the purposes of prostitution as specified in s. 213 C.C.C. (formerly s. 195.1). In Calgary, since the law was passed, there have been at least 12 known homicides of street prostitutes. In Winnipeg, there have been at least 3 reported cases. In Edmonton, we identified 3 specific cases but one news report referred to as many as 6 cases since 1986. The experience of these cities is not unique. There have been several dozen murders of prostitutes across Canada since communication for the purpose of prostitution was made unlawful. The Centre for Justice Statistics began to keep records of occupations of murder victims in 1991. It reports that in the three years from 1991 to 1993, 31 prostitutes were murdered in the course of their work.

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?

General Methodological Strategies


To address these questions we undertook an inquiry which involved systematic evaluation of a number of factors. First, we examined the utilization of laws governing prostitution by police in Calgary and Winnipeg to determine the pattern of enforcement to evaluate how s. 213 and other anti-prostitution laws were actually being utilized. We also conducted interviews with key stakeholders about violence against prostitutes and the contribution of s. 213 to the hazards of working as a prostitute. These interviews included senior police personnel particularly in Vice and Homicide in Calgary and Winnipeg, as well as Crown Attorneys, defense counsel and social service workers in both cities.

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.



I. Managing Street Prostitution in Calgary and Winnipeg: S. 213 and Street Prostitution



(1) Introduction


Both Calgary and Winnipeg police have devoted substantial resources to controlling street prostitution through enforcement of s. 213. In Calgary, since 1987, there has been a dramatic increase in charges laid under this section. In addition, there has been a greater emphasis on male customers as opposed to female sellers as indicated in Table One. In 1987 there were virtually no charges against customers. By 1993, approximately 60% of charges involved male customers.


Table One. Communication Charges in Calgary, 1987-1993
Year Prostitutes Customers Total
1987 53 3 56
1988 219 63 282
1989 309 151 460
1990 365 269 634
1991 460 384 844
1992 401 450 851
1993 293 432 725
Source: Calgary Police Service

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

(2) Calgary Vice and the Anti-Pimping Initiative


At the National Consultation on Juvenile Prostitution convened in Calgary in May, 1993, detectives from Calgary Vice reported that they felt that the use of s. 213 could not be expected on its own to reduce the numbers of persons working as prostitutes. Penalties under this summary offense were never substantial enough to deter the behaviour at issue. This convinced the Calgary personnel to re-define the nature of the problem associated with prostitution. By and large, detectives in Vice in Canada have considerable latitude in how the resources of the department are committed. Whereas most homicide units in Canadian municipal police forces operate on the same basis, vice is different. Vice - prostitution, gambling and drugs - can initiate a variety of control approaches. In Calgary, in 1990, under a new Staff Sergeant, the Vice unit explored a new perspective. This was based on the acknowledgement that the persons working as prostitutes ought to be treated as victims. Charges under s. 213 further victimize and marginalize those who are already suffering from disadvantage - whether emotional, financial or otherwise. Under the title "Child Prostitution" the 1993 Year End Report noted by way of background the following:

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.

(3) Off Street Trick Pads


Another concern which has come to police and public attention is the existence of "trick pads". These are locations which may be used on a temporary basis as brothels in which one or two adolescent prostitutes have sex with sometimes dozens of men over the course of several hours. No money changes hands at the scene, and the site may be moved to a new location at a later date. A trick pad discovered in December, 1993, in the basement of a pizzeria on Macleod Trail was rigged to prevent the prostitutes from opening the doors of the room from the inside. The business license of the pizzeria was temporarily withdrawn by City Licensing. Charges for criminal prosecution for forceable confinement were dropped since the victims were reluctant to appear as witnesses. However, as of November 1994, two of the pimps involved in the recruitment of a prostitute for the trick pad were facing trial on charges of living off the avails of an adolescent.

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.


(4) Changes in the Stroll Patterns in Calgary and Winnipeg


There have been significant changes in patterns of street prostitution in Calgary and Winnipeg over the past six years. The numbers of persons on view in the two cities appear to be going in opposite directions. Calgary's strolls are getting smaller. Winnipeg's appear to be getting larger. Also, Winnipeg's high track stroll is the smallest and the low track stroll is the largest. The opposite pattern holds in Calgary - the high track is much larger than the low track locations. However, over time Calgary's high track is becoming less popular with increasingly fewer people on view. In Calgary, the police collect systematic information about the numbers of persons on view daily in each stroll. These observations suggest that from 1989 to 1993, the numbers have declined significantly. Table Five reports the annual average number of individuals counted on the heterosexual strolls.

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.

(5) The Escort Industries in Calgary and Winnipeg: Are Changes in Off Street Prostitution a Result of Displacement?


S. 213 covers communication for the purposes of prostitution in public. Off-street prostitution, whether in the form of trick pads or escort services, falls outside the control of s. 213. However, the evidence suggests that the development of off-street prostitution is not a consequence of the suppression of the street trade. Like other forms of off street prostitution - trick pads in particular - the escort business appears to follow its own logic.

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.



II. Victimization in Calgary (1984-1993):


Assault, Sexual Assault and Robbery



For Calgary, it was possible to prepare a time series to examine trends in victimization involving prostitutes based on analysis of information retrieved from the computerized police records. The Occurrence Reports used by the Police Service allow officers (and the coders who input the computer records) to record the occupation of victims. Prostitutes are coded "500" - as an illegal occupation. This includes prostitutes, escorts and drug dealers. Police advised that prostitutes constituted 99% of females coded "500" - and that those involved in drug trafficking were probably also involved in prostitution. There are some 220 other codes describing different occupations. If the trends in the murder of prostitutes are just the tip of the iceberg, then similar patterns of victimization should be evident when we examine other crime categories. Calgary Police provided access to occurrence reports over a ten year period.

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
Prostitutes Others
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.

III. The Record of Homicides in Calgary and Winnipeg Since 1985

The homicides reviewed in this report focus primarily on cases from Calgary and Winnipeg. We comment briefly on other cases reported in the Calgary and Winnipeg media involving the murders of three Edmonton prostitutes. The rationale for this is that prostitutes frequently work a circuit so that whether a homicide occurs in Calgary, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Vancouver may be coincidental. The cases discussed in this section were brought to our attention in interviews with Calgary and Winnipeg police and supplemented from crime coverage in the daily newspapers.

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).




Analysis and Discussion


Taken as a whole and viewing these cases even in their general features, few people will fail to find the picture which emerges as alarming. However, the picture which emerges is more complex than one would have expected. We almost take for granted the idea that street prostitution and the murder of prostitutes go hand in hand. There is a danger that public perception has become so jaded in this area that the murders are viewed as commonplace since the victims are associated with prostitution. One of the parents of an adolescent victim said "All we'd see in the media is the word 'prostitute, prostitute, prostitute' whenever [our daughter's] name was mentioned...Well, I'm sick of that word. I'm tired of seeing it" (Calgary Herald, November 9, 1990). In other words, the slaying of their daughter was trivialized by attributing it to prostitution, and by overlooking the circumstances which make adolescents vulnerable to school problems, dropping out, runaway behaviour, the lure of narcotics and the street. Viewed in this fashion, involvement with prostitution may be extremely transient and the factors which led to the sorts of outcomes documented here could happen to virtually anyone. By contrast, the media stereotype of the "hooker murder" implies that these tragedies do not happen to nice people. But that is not what we have found. Most of the females described here were involved in prostitution, but not all. Even some of those involved in prostitution appear to have come to harm for reasons unrelated to prostitution and/or for reasons unknown.

What can be learned from the record examined here? While there is no one single pattern common to all the cases, some generalizations can still be identified along the issues of gender, involvement in prostitution, age, location of bodies, clearance rates and motives.

(1) Gender


The victims were virtually all female. Jean McMaster, the transsexual, was the sole exception. Although male street hustlers do experience violence, they are less likely to be victimized by either pimps or johns, as opposed to young male "gay bashers". The gender differential noted here is probably part of the larger trends in gender dominance and conflict. Males are not only more inclined to be aggressive than females, but gender socialization probably reinforces female passivity and male dominance. In addition, the male-centeredness of the sex trade reinforces the priority of male sexuality. The operation of the sex trade out of the customer's automobile or home reinforces the 'john's' control over the transaction.
There are two points which can be made in this context of gender differences. In the first instance, this pattern of dominance does not preclude female prostitutes from acting lethally against their customers. Aileen Wuornos, the so-called Florida Freeway Hooker, was implicated in the shooting murders of seven men who had picked her up while hitchhiking in Florida in the late '80s and early '90s. She hitchhiked to meet prospective clients. In January, 1992, she was sentenced to be executed following the first of several trials for murder (Winnipeg Free Press, February 1, 1992). However, her actions against 'johns' are clearly the exception. Every prostitute worries about "bad" dates but few dates worry about "bad" prostitutes?

The next point concerns the normative relationship between the sexes. If male dominance is accepted as normal, it does not follow automatically that women would be hurt or killed in these sorts of transactions. Normal transactions occur typically without violence since compliance is voluntary. This suggests that the patterns of violence observed here may arise not from the usual gender dominance patterns, but from a breakdown or challenge to these patterns. Brill chokes Ferraz after she pokes fun at his sexual performance. Woermann strangles Cook after she tries to steal from him. In both cases, the usual dominance roles are reversed and the ensuing violence appears to be a way of re establishing dominance. Similarly, MacGregor has to teach Mowat a lesson about who is in charge when Mowat is enlisted as a witness against another pimp. These cases point to violence as a response to a challenge to gender dominance. Similarly, in the Wuornos case, the accused claimed self defense from rape and sadistic torture - acts of subservience beyond what a normal prostitution relationship would require. In these kinds of cases, victims appear to turn their humiliation into indignation by striking back to recover the normal relationship.

(2) Involvement with Street Prostitution


The victims discussed earlier were virtually all associated with street prostitution and/or the runaway street life. Keeley Pincott, a barmaid, and Shawna Van Der Basch, a hair stylist and escort, were the exceptions, although their disappearances and subsequent discoveries revealed patterns reminiscent of prostitute homicides. We have raised the question of gender differences in the first point and argued that in prostitution a gender hierarchy exists of male dominance and female subservience. Clearly, this is an arcane conception of the relationship between men and women, and one that flies in the face of what most men and women would espouse in everyday life. Prostitution is an area where these arcane roles of dominance and submission have largely weathered the attempts to remove sexism from the rest of society. For the 'johns', prostitution, like the pool hall and racetrack, is a remnant of the bachelor or male centered culture. For the practitioners, it is a shady business. By contrast, for young women it appears as a ticket to power. In the absence of ordinary business methods of negotiating conflict, breaches of contract are not amenable to the usual remedies. If the 'john' does not pay for what he gets (or refuses to confine himself only to what he pays for), or the seller does not deliver the merchandise desired (or gives something other than what was sought), the remedies are informal, and are often violent. Section 213 merely heightens the illegality of what is already socially undesirable.

(3) Age


The third point has to do with age. The victims discussed here were overwhelmingly young. They ranged in age from 15 to 29. The median and the modal ages were 20. Sixty-five per cent of the group were under age 21. Typically, the customers of female street prostitutes are older. The relevance of age is somewhat difficult to untangle as several things may transpire simultaneously. Age is often associated with experience but it would be misleading to believe that young prostitutes are "inexperienced". Frequently, they have been promiscuous from an early age, and were often victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. And frequently they develop a "tough" identity and are described as aged "prematurely" by exposure to street life. On the one hand, the fact that they are recruited during adolescence, that they are separated from parental influence and frequently drop out from school makes them amenable to manipulation by older pimps and boyfriends who recruit them for the trade. Once associated with the trade and alienated from family and school resources, departure is extremely difficult.

Youthfulness may also have appeal in prostitutes the younger they are since they may be viewed as less likely to be STD positive. In addition, they may be less threatening to the customers since they do not appear as mature, as street wise or as difficult to control. None of this suggests that prostitutes are killed because they are young. Rather, because they are young, it may be easier to make prostitutes of them, and it may be easier to keep them working in prostitution despite its attendant hazards.
Section 213 does not focus on any particular age sector, unlike s. 212 (d) which targets the clients of adolescent prostitutes. However, s. 213 does appear to give the police a devise to remove adolescents from the street and appears to have been used in this fashion expressly in Calgary, though less so in Winnipeg.

(4) Location of Bodies


The next point concerns the locations of the bodies. The victims were all discarded secretly in remote locations usually on the fringes of urban areas, typically at night. In three cases, their bodies were hidden near the premises where they were murdered (Ferraz, Anctil and Cook) - a factor which may have assisted police in the timely identification of suspects. In the latter cases, the victims were not apparently accosted in an automobile, but in an apartment or home, and removed to a location nearby. The use of the automobile for the transaction accounts for the dispersal of the other deceased to the periphery of the cities. Generally speaking, the more remote the site of abandonment, the longer the period between disappearance and discovery. Bodies placed beside roads were readily found. In many cases, the bodies were simply deposited within metres of a highway. Those discarded in remote parks, forests and back roads, were more liable to remain missing for longer periods.

The pattern of disposal of the bodies appears to be highly opportunistic and is unconnected with s. 213. There do not appear to be any cases in which the perpetrator went to significant lengths to permanently hide or destroy the remains. Where bodies were buried, these occurred on construction excavations or in shallow, hastily dug holes. Otherwise, they were dragged from vehicles and left just out of view by a road, under a bridge, tucked behind or put into a dumpster. In other words, there is not much evidence that the homicides were well planned or that the identification of the remains were thought to be capable of implicating the perpetrator. One exception involves Mowat and Ritchie, both of whom were shot to death. Confining ourselves to the Mowat case (which is solved), the crime scene was quite extraordinary. Even though it was remote from Calgary, MacGregor made no further effort to conceal the body despite the fact the execution style murder had the signature of a 'professional' kill. The point is that the majority of cases seem to reflect crude opportunistic disposal which would not implicate the perpetrator, and which appears to be indicative of rather short term planning and the communication law appears completely irrelevant to how or where the bodies are disposed of.

(5) Clearance Rates


Implication of the perpetrator raises the question of clearance rates. In 7 of the 20 cases, the cases were cleared by charge, at least initially. In all cases, the accused persons were male. Three cases resulted in murder convictions. In the remaining four cases, there were three acquittals and one stay of prosecution. The plurality of cases remain outstanding. There appear to be several reasons for this. The murders appear to take place in remote or concealed locations, and frequently the remains are only discovered some time after the person has gone missing. In only about half the cases reviewed here were the victims observed working on a stroll at the time of their disappearance. From the start, identification of suspects is difficult since the murder may have occurred weeks or months before the investigation starts. In 8 cases, there was a period of at least several days before the disappearance yielded hard evidence of foul place - in one case there was a delay of 15 months. Also, few of those associated with the street scene lead "accountable" lives, in the sense that they follow predictable work routines well known to others in advance. The obvious exception were the women who failed to resume child care duty after a night on the stroll. Similarly, the 'johns' try as much as possible to 'low profile' their contacts with street prostitutes. The whole business operates sub rosa. Prostitutes enter into intimate contacts with people they usually do not know. Like cab drivers, a group which also experiences very high levels of victimization, they typically work by placing themselves in automobiles with strangers. The dates are typically transacted secretly, often in those automobiles, and typically in remote locations.

Contrary to some popular opinion, there was no evidence that police assign lower priority to these cases than those of other victims.

(6) Motives


One of the questions which has comes up in previous points concerns motives behind the killings and the associated question of the relationship of the victim to the perpetrator. Here we have a diverse set of considerations. In terms of motive, some of the deaths appear to be triggered by quite unpredictable situational factors. The murder of Victoria Cook in Winnipeg appears to have been unplanned, arising from an argument. Edith Ferraz appears to have died under similar circumstances in Calgary. In neither case, as far as we can determine, were these victims approached in order to be murdered. At the other end of the continuum, the murder of Chrissy Mowat by her pimp appears to have been cold-blooded and premeditated, and undertaken to protect another pimp.
In between there are more precarious situations. The murder of Joanne Shaver appears to have involved a suspect with a history of predatory sexual aggression. There is ample evidence that many of the customers of prostitutes are predatory males who have a penchant for hurting women. Street prostitutes constitute one of the most vulnerable groups because of their high levels of exposure to strangers in situations where provisions for safety are minimal. For example, in 1991 Vin Ashmeed Mohammed was arrested by Winnipeg police after a series of attacks against Winnipeg prostitutes. Over a four month period, he picked up a number of Winnipeg prostitutes, drove them to remote areas, and drew a knife on them, threatening to murder them if they did not perform fellatio. Several of the women were slashed and robbed, in some cases requiring hospitalization (Winnipeg Free Press, December 5, 1989; December 12, 1989). The Bad Trick Sheet distributed by POWER in Winnipeg and by Exit in Calgary are full of similar accounts. Rape, confinement and threatening with weapons are not uncommon.

In males with a pathological hatred for women, the fact that the victim is a prostitute appears to justify using her as a target for general misogyny. This is suggested by the 1990 case of Arthur Shawcross. Shawcross was tried in Rochester, New York for the murder of 16 young women, 14 of whom were local prostitutes (Winnipeg Free Press, January 8, 1990). In Calgary, journalists have sometimes raised the prospect of a serial killer. The serial killer from the time of Jack the Ripper has epitomized the predatory male. Although some of the Calgary killings may be related, there is no evidence that a single killer is responsible for most of the murders. Unfortunately, the predatory male does not seem to be in short supply.

(7) Abductions of Females who were not Prostitutes


When considering the motives in the abduction and murder of prostitutes, it is impossible to ignore similar local cases involving non-prostitutes. I want to stress that the following three cases do not involve prostitutes, but their cases are illustrative of the problems of female abduction generally. On April 22, 1981, Kelly Cook, 15, was picked up at her home in the town of Standard by a man who called for a baby sitter. Although the man was not known personally to the family, his last name was common in the area. She left in the man's car and was never seen again. Her body was discovered nearly two months later fully clothed and rope bound in the Chin Lakes near Tabor. She had been asphyxiated but did not appear to have been sexually assaulted. Despite a large reward for finding the killer, the case is unsolved. This was the seventh unsolved murder of a young female in the Calgary area since 1976 (Calgary Herald, January 29, 1989.)
The second case, Dilleen Hempel, 26, involved a young woman who disappeared at night following her shift as a waitress in Calgary on November 17, 1992. Her car was abandoned on the Trans-Canada en route to her home in Dalroy, east of the city (Calgary Herald, March 12, 1993). On April 9, 1993, a body, believed to be that of Hempel's, was discovered in a shallow grave about 40 kilometres east of Calgary and south of the Trans Canada (Calgary Herald, December 26, 1993). A patron of the bar was subsequently convicted of first degree murder in November of 1994. He was known to police as someone who had assaulted prostitutes on previous occasions.

The third case involved 22 year old Lailaina Silva who disappeared just after midnight on May 3, 1993 while washing the windows of the 7-Eleven store where she was employed as a clerk. She was abducted, raped and strangled to death. Luc Gregoire, 33, was detained within 24 hours. He had been on parole for a 1983 assault and a 1986 armed robbery, had been released on bail in early April in an assault against a Calgary prostitute, and had attempted the abduction of another woman two hours before he abducted Silva (Calgary Herald, June 29, 1994). He was convicted of first degree murder but not before questions were raised about the failure of the system to return him to custody for serious parole violations prior to this murder.

Each of these three cases involves extremely predatory behaviour. In the first instance the victim was abducted from her home, in the second from her car, and in the third, from her place of work, in each case by a stranger. Each body was discarded secretly in a remote location. In each case, foul play was deliberate, even if the choice of victim was opportunistic. So in considering the victimization of prostitutes, one cannot exclude the parallel patterns of violence which characterize these other largely unresolved homicides of non-prostitutes. Factors such as the activities of predatory males, combined with the secretive nature of the street scene and the lives of those involved in it are more consequential for the dangers associated with street prostitution than s. 213. The only case in which s. 213 was implicated was the first, that of Elaine Kraushner. Most of the key actors interviewed, particularly the police, found the link between the anti-communication law and the murders highly improbable.

A final point with respect to motivation was stressed in interviews with the police. The examination of prostitution homicides in isolation can give a distorted picture of the nature of the hazards associated with street life. According to police in both Calgary and Winnipeg, the overlap between the activities of pimping, prostitution and narcotics can be lethal. For example we reviewed three murders in 1992 (two females and one transsexual). However, in the same year there were three murders of male pimps. The pimp murders appear to have been related to drug deals which went awry. Narcotics and unpaid loans were implicated in two of the prostitute murders in Calgary. The affinity between narcotics and prostitution appears to accelerate the already existing hazards in the lives of everyone associated with the street trade.

(8) Summary


When we review the characteristics of the cases examined here, there are some basic clues about the dynamics of prostitution which may explain, at least in part, the high levels of homicide associated with the street trade. Street prostitution occurs in a context of gender and age hierarchies in which the completion of illicit contracts are precarious in the event of conflicts. In addition, street people are frequently involved in illicit transactions for narcotics where the same sorts of conflicts and debts may be extremely hazardous. Finally, street prostitutes are vulnerable to violence from pimps motivated for reasons of control and from a significant portion of the male population which is antagonistic towards women, and which victimizes women largely on the basis of opportunity, sometimes preying on prostitutes and sometimes selecting female targets at large. The role of s. 213 is remote. This section, along with all the other laws designed to suppress prostitution, simply make the buying and selling of sex a comparatively underground activity. The secrecy of the trade not only shields prostitution from public view but provides a cover for violence against prostitutes which would be more likely to be detected and deterred if the activities operated completely in the open.
On the whole the record of victimization of prostitutes suggests a sharp rise in patterns of victimization. However, when we consider the unresolved cases of victimization of young females from the mid-70s, the pattern does not appear so unprecedented. Prostitutes may have to some extent replaced female hitchhikers as targets of predatory violence. Since most cases in both categories have not been cleared, it is impossible to draw firm conclusions regarding these parallel forms of victimization.

IV. Interviews with Prostitutes

We undertook a survey of persons actively working in the sex trade to learn from them something of their backgrounds, their experiences, and their attitudes. Most respondents were contacted on the street and all were interviewed in person. Two were contacted through a network of friends. Sixteen persons completed the interviews, all were females and all but two were currently active in prostitution. The interviews were based on a semi-structured questionnaire administered by the interviewer. Interviews lasted from 45 to 120 minutes, with the majority being completed in about an hour. The questionnaire was designed to investigate three major areas - (1) family background and personal history, (2) experience with violence in prostitution and (3) attitudes to the communication law and to the police, and the connection between the communication law and the hazards of prostitution.

(1) Family Background and Personal History


The rationale for examining the background of persons working as prostitutes was to determine the extent to which their personal histories have put them at risk of involvement in prostitution in the first place and have tended subsequently to impede their retirement from the life. The utility of legal measures designed to suppress prostitution must be considered in the context of factors which encourage it.
In this study the respondents ranged in age from 17 to 45. The modal age was 21 (n=3) and the median age was 26. The majority described themselves as single (10 of 16) but only a third lived alone or on their own with children (n=6). Ten of the respondents had children (a total of 15) but in several cases they had lost custody. In half the cases (n=5), the first child was born before the mother was 18. Premature home departure was a common experience. All but 3 respondents left home before what one might call a 'normal' age of departure (17 to 19). Many were placed in foster homes or lived with friends. The chief reasons for premature departure included conflict with (and between) parents or guardians (n=9), and unplanned pregnancies (n=3). Eleven respondents reported seeing parents under the influence of alcohol or drugs "frequently". Six reported being intentionally disciplined by a parent so hard that bruising or bleeding resulted.

Eight respondents reported that "minor sexual abuse" such as unwanted touching occurred "frequently" (n=4) or "sometimes" (n=4). "Serious sexual abuse" was reported "frequently over a long period of time" by three respondents and "at least once" by four respondents (total n=7). Thirteen respondents reported running away from home, in some cases dozens of times. Half reported that "frequently" (n=4) or "sometimes" (n=4) their parents made them feel so unwelcome that they felt that they had to run away. In addition, fully one-half the respondents (n=8) reported that they had attempted suicide, and all but five reported that they thought about suicide either "frequently" (n=4) or "sometimes" (n=4).

Reasons for conflict at home were diverse but conformity to family rules was a recurrent theme. In nine cases the respondents reported that before they left home their friends were using and/or selling drugs. Similarly, in nine cases the respondents reported that they had themselves been arrested while still living at home, mostly for theft, impaired driving or assault.

Early home departure was associated with early school leaving. Only three respondents had completed grade 12. Half had completed either grade 9 (n=4) or grade 10 (n=4). Nine reported that they skipped school "frequently" or "several times a month." Nine also had been expelled from school at some point. Notably, only two of the respondents had legitimate work outside of prostitution and the remaining fourteen had applied for welfare since leaving home.

The picture which emerges is one of young women with multiple problems - only 7 out of the 16 had lived in an intact family with both parents at the point when they left home. The families were marked by high levels of conflict, high levels of alcohol and/or drug abuse by parents, and high levels of physical abuse and sexual interference with the children. For their part, the respondents reacted with epidemic levels of running and suicidal behaviour, and extremely high levels of unplanned and early pregnancies. The respondents also appear to have become involved in petty crimes such as theft and narcotics in advance of leaving home, and became involved in prostitution as a way of adapting once out of school and living on their own. However, their criminal involvements were not limited to prostitution offenses. Only 4 respondents reported that they had no criminal record. Five had a prostitution related conviction (including communication, living on the avails and procurement). In addition, there were five convictions for assault, five for theft, two for armed robbery, two for illegal possession of firearms, five for narcotics offenses, and three for drunk and/or dangerous driving. As a group the respondents experienced tragic levels of victimization in their own backgrounds which yielded serious sources of dysfunctional coping as a result. Notably, only four out of the sixteen did not have either a drug addiction (n=9) or alcohol dependency (n=3) or both.

These background factors are not irrelevant in understanding the entry to prostitution and the difficulty of leaving it. For a variety or reasons, often not of their own making, these young women leave home before they have acquired the skills and experience to cope effectively and lawfully in society. Criminal records make them unattractive to employers and substance dependencies compel them to work where they might otherwise quit. The substance dependencies may also cloud their assessments of danger and lead them to enter into situations which they would otherwise exit.

(2) Experience with Violence in Prostitution


To explore the issue of violence in the working lives of the respondents, we asked them "what are the most important problems facing working women today?" Then we asked them to consider a number of possibilities, and to assign a number between 1 and 10 to indicate how seriously these were regarded. The possibilities covered a range of hazards associated with prostitution. In Table Eight the items are reported along with the evaluations associated with each item. The Table is based on the aggregate scores from 15 respondents presented in rank order from least to most serious.

Recognizing that the maximum score for any item was 150 (10 x 15 respondents) and that none of the items approached this level of consensus, it is evident that the issues of violence drew much more varied positions from the respondents than issues like finances (115) and employment (109) which the majority recognized as paramount hazards in the street scene. Violence by pimps (68) and customers (80) drew such low scores because opinions were so divided as to how such items were classified. In addition we must be extremely careful in interpreting such scores since many women are fearful of admitting to having a pimp, and reports of beatings and threats of beatings by pimps are probably seriously underestimated. On the other hand, harassment by the police was not based on violence by the police, but a sense of harassment arising from being questioned, monitored and arrested for communication in sting operations, and being investigated in relationship to narcotics use

Table Eight. Importance of Various Hazards as Perceived by Prostitutes
Question Item Score
Violence by Other Working Women 54
Poor Health 56
Not Finding or Keeping Housing 59
Inadequate Educational Opportunities 64
Beatings and Threats by Pimps 68
Violence by Customers 80
Drug and Alcohol Dependency 88
Police Harassment 96
Accidental Exposure to AIDS and HIV 98
Getting Arrested for Communication 101
Lack of Alternative Employment 109
Making and Saving Money 115

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

Respondents Medical
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.

(3) Reactions to the Communications Law


In order to probe the relationship of violence to the anti-communication law, we directly asked respondents whether the law had changed how the women work. We presented several propositions about the consequences of the law and asked the respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with them.

The only items which garnered strong consensus were those dealing with the way women contacted customers. In their comments, the respondents stressed how they tried to get the 'johns' to name the act and the price, and how they tried to manage the length of the negotiation to minimize police surveillance. The proposition that the law inadvertently changed drug or alcohol use, how people were recruited to the life or dependency on pimps, dependency on drugs or dependency on off-street venues enjoyed no consensus. However, a number of respondents indicated that they could only work when they were "high" - which seemed to have more to do with the alienating 'work' of prostitution as opposed to the specific hazards of arrest for communication.

Table Ten. Perceived Consequences of the Anti-Communication Law (n=16)


Proposition Agree or Strongly Agree
1. The law forces women to work in more remote and less safe places. 11
2. The law makes working women less careful in screening customers. 7
3. The law makes working women more dependent on pimps for protection. 2
4. The law makes working women more dependent on drugs. 4
5. The law makes working women more dependent on bar and hotel referrals. 6
6. The law changes the way working women contact customers. 11
7. The law changes the way working women are recruited to the life. 2
8. The law puts pressure on working women to use drugs or alcohol
when they work the streets 4

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.

(4) Summary


These interviews confirm the high levels of violence among street prostitutes which were identified in earlier sections. However, the violence is not limited to assaults by 'johns'. The respondents were assaulted as children in their homes and continue to face abuse from their pimps and boyfriends. The latter pose at least as great a threat as "bad dates". They seem to occupy a status as prostitutes whose stigma allows men of any sort to treat them badly. However, it is not prostitution alone which makes them vulnerable. The extremely high levels of drug and alcohol dependency heightens their vulnerability by tying them more closely to pimp-traffickers, and, in some cases, by putting them into intimate situations with strangers while high. Several respondents reported that they sometimes used drugs with and even sold drugs to their dates.

The violence does not appear to be related to the communication law, at least not directly. Several respondents either had worked in the escort sector or were currently working in escort. In their view, escort is a much safer way to work for many of the reasons discussed earlier. Since the address and identity of the date is known, there is less chance that the date will cause trouble. The agencies keep a record of names and addresses of people who have caused problems in the past and with whom they refuse to deal. Calls made from the address by the escort usually indicate a return time, alerting the agency to potential problems if there is delay. Also, the use of the same cabbies to drop off and pick up the escort gives the women support in case of trouble. Few of these checks are available to people who meet dates in their vehicles on the street. Even if communication were lawful, the street would still be a far riskier sector in comparison to escort. And if prostitution were fully legalized and licensed, the plurality of the respondents we spoke to would probably not be the sort of people who would be desirable in such an industry, primarily because of addictions and because of criminal records for crimes unrelated to prostitution.



V. News Coverage on Prostitution in Calgary


Our mandate for this study entailed an analysis of the media coverage on prostitution and violence against prostitutes. The point of a media analysis is to provide a guide to the public perceptions of prostitution and how the issues surrounding it have been defined. For this report we examined all stories in the Calgary Herald from January 1984 to February 1994. The Herald was chosen because its records are archived systematically. We identified a total of 603 stories in this period, two-thirds of which originated locally (n=407) and one third of which originated on the wire service (n=196). For the purposes of this study, items originating in both Calgary and Edmonton were classified as "local" since the main papers in each city frequently run a number of each other's stories. In terms of total trends, there was been a significant variation in the number of stories which appeared annually in the decade examined as indicated in Graph Six.

(1) An Outline of the News Themes Analyzed 1984-1993

In order to understand the reason for annual variations it is important to recognize the variety of sources and subjects which make up these stories. They include "hard" news releases such as criminal events as well as "softer" features such as editorials, opinion pieces and background analyses. We included all such items. As a news subject, prostitution evokes a host of interests - legal questions, community questions, and violence against prostitutes etc. We developed a system to distinguish the different kinds of themes carried in the news. These categories are described below and are followed by an outline of the changing trends.
(i) Legal Stories. These consisted largely of federal and provincial discussions of the laws regarding prostitution, proposals for criminal law reform, frustration about the effectiveness of the laws etc. In addition, this category included legal cases in which the laws were under judicial review in the courts of appeal. Legal stories were the single most frequent kind of news reported (Total number=154).

(ii) Community Action.

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.

(2) Summary


The reader hardly needs reminding that an analysis which attempts to compress a decade of news based on hundreds of diverse stories into a few short pages can do so by sketching only the most prominent developments. After examining the reportage under some 9 different themes, we conclude that the most prevalent kinds of stories fall into three discrete areas: Legal stories, Community or Civic stories and stories of Victimization. First of all, the Legal news appears to have continued to interest readers because the regulatory frameworks designed to deal with prostitution are perceived as unsatisfactory. Despite changes to the communication law, communities continue to be affected and the street trade continues to flourish. Secondly, community stories are a perennial source of interest because of efforts by civic leaders to devise new approaches to policing, zoning, inter urban consultation and the like. In Calgary this area of coverage has grown in recent years, an indication of its increasing municipal relevance. And finally, the victimization stories have undergone a highly significant change in terms of their visibility and frequency in the Calgary news, particularly beginning in 1988. The dramatic re-assignment of policing to areas of pimping and the exploitation of adolescents has changed the way Calgary Vice does business, and this has shifted attention away from the reports of the somewhat repetitive undercover sting operations to the more human interest themes featured in the suppression of pimps and the protection of young people from exploitation. This strategy has tended to shift the definition of the problem away from prostitution as a nuisance to be zoned out of sight to prostitution as a serious problem to be eradicated out of existence. It is not entirely coincidental that this more restrictive depiction of prostitution has occurred at the same time that the main Calgary stroll is increasingly being viewed as an antiquated institution increasingly inconsistent with the renewal of the urban core.

VI. Issues in Investigation and Prosecution


As part of the study of the problems of violence against prostitutes, we were asked to examine "difficulties in investigating and prosecuting offenses against prostitutes" as well as "offenses by prostitutes." These difficulties involve a range of considerations ranging from informal relationships between victims and the police to bureaucratic considerations within police departments to concrete legal developments enunciated by court decisions. We will deal first with offenses against prostitutes.

Policing Offenses Against Prostitutes


In the review of the homicide record as well as some of the other major crimes of violence against prostitutes, the level of lethal and near lethal violence is well documented. What are the impediments to the investigation and prosecution of those responsible?

(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.

Policing Offenses by Prostitutes (and Others)


The Fraser Committee received a brief from the Calgary Police Commission in 1984 outlining the extensive involvement by street prostitutes in criminal activities over and above communication. These included large numbers of charges for narcotics violations, theft, robbery, drunk driving and offenses against the system of justice. Currently, the single major concern of police in Calgary and Winnipeg is with use of drugs by prostitutes. However, there do not appear to be any special impediments to investigating and prosecuting crimes of this sort. As for communication per se, there is some frustration that charges under s. 213 have little impact, particularly against veteran prostitutes, since the penalties are minor, typically consisting of fines in the $100 to $300 range.

The more important impediments to the offenses by prostitutes (and others) are in the areas of judicial interpretation of the various laws regarding prostitution. There are a series of cases which examined the soundness of these laws, some of which have limited their scope, and some of which have resisted such limitations. They cover communication, living on the avails, bawdy house operation and the line between prostitution and entertainment. The objective of this brief review is to illustrate how various judicial decisions can help shape the forms and venues in which prostitution flourishes. From the perspective of public policy, we should assess whether these decisions contribute to a coherent perspective vis à vis prostitution. There are grounds for inferring that court decisions are inconsistent.

(1) S. 213 Communication


Like many laws associated with the commercial sex trade, the communication law (S. 213) was designed to create as much as possible an absolute liability for persons negotiating sex for money in public. The major constitutional challenges to the section were dealt with in R. v. Smith [44 C.C.C. (3d) 385] by the Ontario High Court in 1988 and in Reference re: Sections 193 and 195.1(1)(c) [56 C.C.C. (3d) 65] by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990. Those cases dealt with challenges based on freedom of speech, freedom of association, equality rights, fundamental justice and the proportionality of the law under Section One of the Charter. The section survived evaluation on these constitutional grounds.

A subsequent case was brought to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1991 based on an argument about elements of the offense. R. v. Ruest [ 67 C.C.C. (3d) 476] concerned an acquittal of a 'john' whose charge was found wanting since he had propositioned an undercover decoy. His defense - that he had not actually propositioned a prostitute - was accepted by the trial judge but reversed in the Summary Conviction Appeal Court. In the Quebec Court of Appeal the reversal was held and Mr. Ruest was convicted. The Court reasoned that "the focus of the section is on the purpose of the person making the solicitation and it is unnecessary to consider the intent of the person solicited."

Subsequent cases have explored the purpose of the person making the solicitation. A series of cases in the Alberta lower courts has arisen from charges laid following approaches by 'johns' to undercover female officers. These cases differed from Ruest since the accused all left the scene after communicating with the decoy in the fashion typical of a prospective customer. In R. v. McLaughlin [128 A.R. 69 1992] the trial judge refused to make the inference that an accused who asked about specific sex acts and about prices, and who apparently agreed on an arrangement with the decoy but who simply drove away when directed to meet the decoy around the corner - that in these circumstances - the judge was left with a doubt as to whether the accused intended to solicit as opposed to satisfy his curiosity. The Crown worry is that every "real" customer who suspects entrapment in the course of a genuine offense would have a recourse to such an excuse, and that the ability to utilize undercover decoys could be seriously compromised as a result.
The issue has come up in other acquittals (i.e. R. v. Swift , unreported Case No. 9301-0104-s6). However, not every case has been resolved in the favour of the accused. In R. v. Rocque (unreported Case No. 9393-0006-s6) the fact that the accused ended his conversation with "OK. Let's go" before walking off in the opposite direction led the court to conclude that this indicated his clear intention, even if the direction of his departure did not. Several of these sorts of cases are under consideration on appeal.
These cases are relevant at a general level to the current inquiry inasmuch as they could result in diminished interest in the control of 'johns' and a return to the differential arrests of the sellers. That type of bias tends to reinforce the perception that prostitution is more the fault of the sellers than the customers, and reinforces the differential stigma associated with sellers versus buyers.

(2) Living on the Avails


One of the strategies employed by police to neutralize pimps is to arrest anyone living on the proceeds of prostitution, including anyone living with a prostitute or being habitually in the company of a prostitute. This has become a major preoccupation of Calgary police. In R. v. Grilo [64 C.C.C. (3d) 53] the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the conviction of an accused who admitted co-habiting with a prostitute and occasionally purchasing a coffee and doughnuts from the money received from her earnings. The Court of Appeal held that this conduct did not have the parasitical quality perceived by parliament when it devised the law to prevent exploitation of prostitutes. The court pointed out that any parent, child or spouse living with the prostitute could face such charges, and that this was perverse.

In a subsequent decision the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Downey took a somewhat different view. Downey appealed from a conviction of living on the avails in a case arising from his association with a Calgary escort agent. The agent collected fees for introductions arranged between escorts and clients who called for dates. Downey, as an employee of the agency, was aware that in 85-90% of the calls, the escorts engaged in prostitution. His appeal was based section 11(d) of the Charter - the presumption of innocence. The living on the avails law made a presumption that someone living with a prostitute, or habitually in the company of a prostitute, was de facto in an exploitative relationship. According to the Supreme Court, the target of the legislation is "the person who lives parasitically off a prostitute's earnings - namely, the pimp. Pimps control street prostitution and, along with customers, are the major source of violence against prostitutes" [R. v. Downey 2 S.C.R. 1992 10 at p. 11]. According to the Court, the law was designed to suppress the activities of such persons "without it being necessary for the prostitute to give evidence." However, the law also permitted the presumption of exploitation to be rebutted by the accused. "There is no real danger that the section will result in innocent persons who have non-parasitic living arrangements with prostitutes being inculpated" (p.12).

Downey is a remarkable decision in that the seven member panel was split 4 to 3 and the dissenting opinion came to entirely different conclusions on the issue of presumption of innocence. For example, the Honourable Justice Forest noted that the basic facts associated with the law "are not intrinsically blameworthy and simply cast too wide a net. The section catches people who have legitimate non-parasitic living arrangements with prostitutes" (p. 13). Justices McLachlin and Iacobucci concluded that the law "unduly enmeshes the innocent in the criminal process by arbitrarily catching within its ambit those who are not guilty of the offense. In the case of s. 195(2) the required logical link [between the objective and law] is lacking, rendering it both irrational and unfair. It cannot be said that it is likely that one who lives with or is habitually in the company of a prostitute is parasitically living on the avails of prostitution." This was the minority decision.

The logic of the majority view suggests that the presumption made by the 'living on' provisions would extend a measure of protection to prostitutes not otherwise available. However, the minority opinion suggested that the law probably has the unanticipated effect of further isolating prostitutes an exposing them to danger:

By this presumption prostitutes are put in the position of being unable to associate with friends and family, or to enter into arrangements which may alleviate some of the more pernicious aspects of their frequently dangerous and dehumanizing trade. The predictable result is to force prostitutes onto the streets or into the exploitive power of pimps, thereby undercutting the very pressing and substantial objective which the presumption was designed to address. Because it exacerbates the very exploitation which it purports to prevent, s. 195(2) cannot be said to possess the degree of rationality necessary to justify the violation of a right guaranteed by our Charter (p. 14).

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.

(3) Bawdy House Keepers and Inmates


In R. v. Corbeil the accused was employed as a "masseuse" at a massage parlour where she charged a fee for masturbating clients in the context of a body rub. Corbeil, along with the owner and manageress were convicted of operating a "common bawdy house" contrary to s. 210(1) of Criminal Code. Corbeil's conviction was struck down in 1990 by the Quebec Court of Appeal [57 C.C.C. (3d) 554] and the Crown's appeal of Corbeil's acquittal was denied by the Supreme Court of Canada [124 N.R. 241 1991]. To keep a bawdy house the accused must "have some degree of control over the care and management of the premises" and "participate to some extent in the illicit activities of the common bawdy house". There was no evidence that Corbeil did either, despite the fact that, in the words of Honourable Justice Fish in the Court of Appeal, Corbeil "was caught in a cubicle with her client's pants down" (p. 560). The facts may have supported a lesser charge of being an inmate in such a place but Corbeil had been charged under the more serious "keeping" section.

A related charge against a male client who frequented a bawdy house was tried in R. v. Lemieux which was decided in the Quebec Court of Appeal in 1991 [70. C.C.C. (3d) 434]. Police observed the accused enter a massage parlour and intercepted him 50 minutes later when he left the premises. He admitted to having paid for masturbation while therein and was charged with "being present" in a common bawdy house. Prior to plea, the defense argued that the information did not disclose any offense known to the law since being present in such a place was not a crime. The Crown did not amend the information to cite Lemieux for being "found, without lawful excuse, in a common bawdy house" as the law provides. His conviction was overturned in the Summary Conviction Appeal Court and this was upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal. It is not an offense simply to be present in a location. The accused might have been successfully convicted of being a "found-in" had the information so indicated and had evidence been led to establish that the premises were kept habitually for prostitution. However, the police and the Crown oversimplified the investigation in a way that incorrectly equated "being present" with being "found, without lawful excuse" in a bawdy house, an approach which would have expedited further convictions, but which would have put criminal procedure on very thin ice.

Neither Corbeil nor Lemieux invalidates the bawdy house laws. These cases appear to indicate a lack of attention to detail in the application of charges in off-street venues for prostitution and do not limit Crown controls over prostitution. In contrast, the following case illustrates how the courts can expedite off-street prostitution.

(4) Prostitution versus Entertainment in Tremblay


One of the most remarkable cases in recent years has bridged the gap between pornographic entertainment and prostitution and may have important consequences for the way prostitution develops in off-street locations. Tremblay and five others were charged with keeping a common bawdy house contrary to s. 210 of the Criminal Code. The Pussy Cat Club in Montreal provided intimate nude dancing in private cubicles for individual clients. The clients were permitted to undress and masturbate, but not to touch the entertainers. Clients were charged $40 for the show but "for an additional small supplement the dancer may use a vibrator on herself" [R.v. Tremblay 68 C.C.C. (3d) 439 at 442].

From the Honourable Mr. Justice Brossard's judgment:

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.

(5) Implications


Taken in the context of the other legal developments, the implication of Tremblay is obvious. Constitutional challenges to communication have been met successfully by the Crown. Only in a narrow range of cases of the sort outlined earlier is there a weakening of this area. However, the weakening of control in the off-street sector has been more significant. Corbeil narrows those vulnerable to indictment under the keeping law; Lemieux clarifies the "found-in" law. However, Tremblay appears to leave the door open to the proliferation of a new form of sexual entertainment which escapes the label prostitution, and which removes the relevance of bawdy house occupancy, keeper and found-in laws that govern such venues as the massage parlour. Ironically, the Tremblay decision appears to permit what Calgary city by-laws sought to suppress in legislation aimed at "encounter studios" or any other commercial places in which sex would occur on the premises.

Tremblay reflects one of the recurrent anomalies in the legal approach in this area: prostitution (undefined) is not contrary to the Canadian law, a fact which may by itself contribute to impediments in the control of offenses by prostitutes, their clients and their associates.


VII. Alternative Measures


The last issue of this report concerns "possible alternative measures that could be taken by social agencies and law enforcement to minimize danger to prostitutes." The difficulty in considering such measures is that the hazards of prostitution are neither simple nor amenable to simple solutions. In this report, we gathered some compelling evidence that persons who work as prostitutes have experienced multiple risks in their past and new risks in their current lifestyle. These include early home departure, early school leaving, unplanned pregnancies, suicide attempts, substance dependencies, high health risks, and bleak prospects for self-betterment. Street prostitution is one of the last resorts for self employment among persons with few legitimate opportunities. Furthermore, it is, in the words of the Supreme Court, a "frequently dangerous and dehumanizing trade". Narcotics, sniff and other mind numbing substances appear to be occupational props employed to minimize the alienation entailed by the work of the prostitute. The illicit cash flow attracts pimps who capitalize on the weakness of an already vulnerable population, and who actively induct new recruits into its ranks. The illicit sexual opportunities attract normal 'johns' for "uncomplicated" sex - as well as predatory males for sexually violent acts. Viewed in this way, the question of alternative measures raises a host of possibilities in respect of different definitions of the sources of danger. It may be useful to clarify some of the different perspectives on prostitution under consideration in Canada today and the sorts of alternative measures which appear to flow from such perspectives. Subsequently, it may be possible to coordinate a strategy which builds on both short term as well as long term approaches to the problem.

(1) Four Perspectives on Prostitution: Nuisance, Occupation, Delinquency & Exploitation


Public discussions about prostitution tend to cluster around four ideas. First is the idea that street prostitution is essentially a public nuisance which has to be suppressed to protect neighbourhoods. The anti-communication law was designed to deal with this. Second is the idea that prostitution is an occupation in which people exercise rights over their own bodies and over how they propose to earn money with them. Canadian legislation has tended to frown on prostitution per se although the courts have been tolerant in their approach to "exotic dancing" which may be a front for prostitution. The third idea is that prostitution is a form of delinquency or crime which needs to be deterred like other forms of unlawful conduct. Here we encounter problems in determining whether the delinquency arises from the seller, the buyer or both. And finally, there is the idea that prostitution is a form of sexual exploitation of a vulnerable sector of society. Nuisance, delinquency, occupation and exploitation are four very different ways of thinking about prostitution. None of these definitions of the situation is completely compelling. Each has different implications for how we conceive of what the alternative measures need to address and how these measures would contribute to the issues of safety.

(2) Alternatives in the area of Stroll Regulation for Nuisance


If the objective of control is to limit the incursions of street prostitution into neighbourhoods which are adversely effected, then the obvious solution would be, first, to increase pressure on strolls which are the source of friction with community values by policing aggressively under s. 213 and, second, to create alternative strolls which would reduce friction and experience minimal police interference. This approach does not change the dangers currently experienced by prostitutes in their current locations and raises a series of other issues. First, the police have no legislative authority to advise prostitutes to remove themselves from neighbourhoods to new venues where they may communicate in public contrary to s. 213. Any steps taken of an "informal" nature are open to questions of abuse of process. In addition, the selection of areas in which the impact would be minimal is not the same as selection of areas in which there would be no impact. The danger is that disadvantaged people who live in marginal neighbourhoods and/or people who work in commercial worksites would still experience increased traffic, unwanted solicitation by 'johns' and would continue to be adversely affected. Executive re-location does not remove the problem from urban areas, nor address the safety issue. And to the extent that locations could be found which are so remote from communities as to not affect them adversely, these would probably be locations in which the vulnerability of the prostitutes would be heightened. In addition, there is no permanent locale in urban areas in which prostitution could flourish without encountering friction arising from competition from urban re development. As a consequence, even allowing for the identification of "suitable areas" and their "informal adoption" by sellers and customers in the short run, such solutions are precarious in the long run. As cities grow, areas of tolerance and resistance will oscillate as land use changes.

Another question which arises in the context of stroll regulation is the purpose of s. 213. In 1992, there were 10,134 arrests for communication in Canada. Were these 10,000 arrests designed to minimize nuisance, or to stamp out street prostitution per se? Since nuisance is not an element of the offense, the law can be used for either objective. If policy is designed explicitly to eradicate street prostitution, then, like closing the Atlantic fishery, governments should make plans to help those affected with alternative systems of financial, educational and emotional support. However, as we have noted at several points, prostitution may be only a transient activity for its practitioners and may constitute only one of several adverse conditions in their lives. Even if public policy were designed to eradicate prostitution through job retraining schemes, this would not necessarily alleviate the other hazards and disabilities (i.e. substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, etc.) which make the trade attractive to the sellers in the first place.

(3) The Occupational Perspective and Alternative Measures


In opposition to approaches which would encourage the eradication of the trade, the occupational perspective suggests that legal tolerance is the key. Legalization, in principle, would lead to the regulation of the practice of prostitution as a trade and make it safer for all involved. Many approaches have been suggested. These include the universal licensing of all street vendors (including street prostitutes) as well as escorts, the creation of informal "zones of tolerance" including red light districts and/or brothels, or the zoning of residences to permit prostitutes to work out of their own homes. By way of illustration, the Calgary Licensing By-law provides licenses for persons to work as escorts and to operate escort agencies. The Australians have gone further. In two Australian states, Victoria and New South Wales, the brothel sections of the Police Offenses acts have been moved to the Town Planning acts which permit brothels as a legitimate land use. Siting cannot be prevented on moral grounds (aside from statutory distance from schools and churches). Brothels already operate in the US in Nevada and Utah, and in Europe.
Some of these arrangements address the safety of prostitutes quite directly. House or hotel based prostitution can arrange steps to screen clients and provide direct security in threatening situations. As we noted earlier in this report, escorts services can take similar steps. However, just as Canadian police at present have no legislative authority to create zones of tolerance, they have no authority to create locations where the bawdy house laws would be inoperable. The exception is the sort of dancing establishments discussed in Tremblay. Were federal legislation to remove the obstacles which suppress prostitution, the resulting businesses would revert to provincial laws governing commerce generally. In other words, there would be no legislative grey zone between criminalization and legalization which sometimes is designated as "de-criminalization" option in which the trade would escape formal accountability. Provincial considerations would cover occupational health and safety standards, employment standards, and the like.

If we can consider the model of the Calgary by-law, provincial legislation would fall short of resolving the key hazards of street prostitution. Currently, persons with serious criminal records, known criminal associates and/or connections to the narcotics trade are screened out, as are persons under the age of eighteen. Escort services do not displace street soliciting since a significant number of those who want to work do not qualify for licenses. In addition, the legitimate commercial framework creates overheads associated with offices, telephones, advertising, etc. which are not associated with the street. This results in a multi-tiered system. As a result, commercial standards and economic pressure would lead to a greater stratification of the trade in which the young and the addicted would be excluded from legal sites and relegated to the lowest financial rung in the hierarchy. Intrusions of street nuisance would not disappear, procurement of adolescents would continue and the assault and murder of prostitutes would persist.

In addition, we know very little about the effects on prostitutes of the attempts to legalize off-street venues in places like Nevada or New South Wales. Several of our informants in escort suggested that the use of narcotics and the abuse of alcohol was common by workers in the Calgary industry, and that the pressure to get high was an occupational hazard arising from the alienating nature of the work itself. Presumably, an examination of these other jurisdictions would throw further light on these questions, and would help determine the extent to which the occupational model alleviates violence from clients and pimps, and reverses self-destructive substance abuse.

(4) Some Alternatives in Law Enforcement


For many Canadians prostitution is neither a job nor a nuisance. Despite the laws which fail to criminalize prostitution itself, many view it as offensive and would prefer to see it eradicated from our society. This is reflected in alternative measures designed to deter 'johns'. These operate at two levels - intimidating prospective customers via 'Dear John' letters, and shaming the 'johns' by publishing their names in the media. In this section we review the impact of these approaches. In addition, we will explore alternative approaches to charges which are designed to eradicate the demand for prostitution.

Both Edmonton and Winnipeg have undertaken programs which attempt to 'shame the johns'. The Edmonton police strategy is designed to deter prospective customers from contacting street prostitutes by sending letters to the owners of vehicles observed cruising the strolls. The effect of these "Dear John' letters is unknown. Critics point out that the strategy could embarrass spouses and other family members who intercept the letters. Our contact with Edmonton police in October 1994 has revealed that such letters are only sent to individuals who have already been charged under s. 213.

Also, in 1994 the Edmonton media were encouraged to carry the names of persons charged or convicted of communication. One case resulted in the suicide of a public vice principal whose tryst was exposed in the local media. The suicide was committed by a head-on car crash with a truck. The driver of the truck subsequently died from injuries received in the accident (Edmonton Journal, May 17 and 18, 1994). In Winnipeg, the major newspapers have refused to publish names of persons charged suggesting that the stories are of little public interest. A downtown tabloid has been the only outlet for these announcements. When Winnipeg police released not only names but the employers of persons charged under s. 213, two Ottawa residents employed by Revenue Canada indicated their intention to sue for damages. Again, the utility of this strategy is unknown. In 1994 when the Calgary Police Commission considered the issue of publishing the names of persons charged with communication, Calgary Vice repudiated the logic completely: while punishment is the task of the court, it is not the task of the police. In other jurisdictions which simply release long lists of names of those convicted, there is concern that people with the same names as those involved will be mistakenly tarnished.
The campaigns against the 'johns' address the safety of prostitutes obliquely. They reflect the idea that the street trade is "dangerous and dehumanizing" and would make life safer for women by curbing demand and reducing opportunities on the supply side. To the extent that these shaming strategies fail to suppress the street trade, it is inevitable that among the diminishing numbers of persons who ignore the informal measures would be an increasing proportion who may exhibit other anti-social tendencies, including a propensity for violence. This raises the question as to whether our society ought to be repressing communication for reasons of nuisance or suppressing prostitution itself. If communication sets the agenda, police strategies will probably be modest. If prostitution itself is the issue, more intrusive alternative measures may be required.

In the case of persons under age 18, parliament has already taken steps to target the involvement of people in prostitution per se, not communication. The provisions of s. 212 (d) were designed to protect adolescents from advances by adults. In contrast to the communication law which stressed the equal liability of buyers and seller, 212 (d) puts the liability entirely on the buyers. In the few cases which have been brought to court, the judiciary has taken an extremely dim view of the conduct of the such 'johns' and has been prepared to award serious penalties. This law would have the effect of dramatically reducing the numbers of casual buyers were it widely applied and were potential buyers apprised of its gravity.

An alternative approach to the current sting operations under s. 213 might be developed which entailed the interception of anyone in a vehicle who was observed picking up a young street prostitute. This would be done immediately following the pick-up. Identification could proceed on the basis of s. 213, but where the prostitute proved to be under 18, a charge under s. 212 (d) would be appropriate in the case of the suspected 'john'. The objective of this type of enforcement would be the eradication of exposure of adolescent sellers to prostitution and the elimination of this form of sexual exploitation. Realistically, this approach would be difficult to differentiate from an eradication of street prostitution entirely since most prostitutes are young women and their ages are often difficult to determine exactly.

If parliament views adolescents as entitled to special protection due to incapacity, a parallel argument might be made with respect to other women in the street trade. If women as a class face disadvantage vis à vis the buyers, an alternative construction to the communication law might be found in section 212 (1) (a) which makes it an offense to procure someone for the purposes of prostitution. In the past, such charges have been employed by Winnipeg police against prostitutes who solicited undercover decoys when the soliciting law fell into disuse. However, it is equally capable of application against buyers. Reliance on s. 212 (1) (a) would replace the issue of nuisance with the more serious consideration of sexual exploitation of sellers in general. Procedurally, under this construction, uniformed officers could lay a charge under 212 (1) (a) in the case of persons over 18, or 212 (d) in the case of those under 18. The effect would be to heighten the liability of the buyers and the reduction of opportunity for sellers.

This alternative entails a presumption that someone who has picked up a prostitute intends to do something illegal, and so it may challenge the presumption of innocence. However, the Supreme Court in Downey has already given some room for believing that this infringement may be justified in the case of persons in parasitical relationships with prostitutes. Downey explored the issue in the case of pimps. The alternative measure proposed here would conceivably widen that net to buyers soliciting adolescents and/or buyers procuring adults for prostitution.

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.

(5) Alternative Measures and the Victimization Perspective


In our discussion of public opinion and media definitions of prostitution, there was significant evidence of a change in the perception of the problems of prostitution in which child sexual exploitation and violent exploitation were beginning to re-define prostitution in terms of the victimization of the sellers. There is ample evidence which supports the idea that sellers experience significant disadvantages in terms of education, personal security and family and community integration in advance of prostitution. The victimization perspective valorizes two strategies:

(1) suppression of activities of persons who exploit the sellers including pimps and 'johns', and

(2) extension of general social supports to persons at risk of engaging in prostitution.

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.

(6) The Drinking Driver Analogy


Thirty years ago Canadian society experienced high levels of accidents caused by drunk drivers. A social movement arose which largely changed the public perception of 'drink driving'. People have come to frown on this as a serious social impropriety. The legal system instituted strict minimum penalties to reinforce the changing public intolerance towards such misconduct. The images of children killed and maimed by drivers operating vehicles in a state of intoxication brought home the message that drink drivers were a menace to the whole society. Anyone could be the victim of an irresponsible drunk.

Today, it may be possible to learn from this change in attitudes. The parents of young murder victims advise that 'this can happen to anyone'. Insensitive media treatment of "teen hookers" is being replaced by accounts of sexually procured adolescents. Victimization is overtaking nuisance as a focus of public concern. There is greater public apprehension over the sexual exploitation of adolescent runaways. There is also significant interest in urban politics in dealing with prostitution in a meaningful way.

If we were to create a strategy for a long term remedy to the dangers to girls and women in prostitution, the goal ought to be to eradicate prostitution itself. If we take the victimization perspective seriously, the exploitation of prostitutes is inherent in the institution itself. It comes from sexist attitudes which are contrary to mainstream Canadian values and which are increasingly arcane and offensive. In the short to medium term, a greater emphasis on crime control strategies to curb demand would reinforce the perception that prostitution needs dealing with. This is not because it is a minor irritant which can be dealt with by ingenious stroll management or by legalization, although both may play a short term role in a longer term strategy. Rather, prostitution needs 'dealing with' because it is inherently demeaning and because it fosters an array of other destructive and self destructive relationships.

In the medium and longer term, as the illicit market contracts, the social service side of the victimization strategy should reduce the numbers of youth at risk to work in the illicit economy. A strategy which combines both prongs, and which appeals to the evolving community sentiments in terms of values of equality and security, and the protection of youth and the vulnerable, may provide at least the outline of a road map through a policy minefield littered with the failures of previous solutions.