Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Sex-trade workers charged after undercover police raids

Thu, October 11, 2007
Sex-trade workers charged after undercover police raids
UPDATED: 2007-10-11 03:18:22 MST

Undercover cops worked some of the city's prostitute strolls picking up working women now accused of sex-trade related offences.

The sweep by the vice and community-response units in the first week of October took them to four of five city strolls -- in the Beltine, East Village, Forest Lawn and near Eau Claire, where so-called high-end prostitutes work.

Sixteen sex-trade workers were charged with prostitution-related offences, 17 outstanding warrants were executed and 38 summonses issued. Sgt. Mark Schwartz with the vice unit said the hope is many of the women targeted, and referred to resources to help escape the trade, will use it as an opportunity to get out of a dangerous, dead-end job.

"These girls are all being sexually exploited by the trade and whether they admit it or not they don't choose to be there," Schwartz said.

"They are victimized and exploited everyday."

Johns hiring prostitutes are usually putting money into organized crime, he said.

"This sting was focused strictly on street workers but we do as many if not more which focus on johns," he said.

The sting is also driven by community concerns and complaints of increased traffic and associated issues like discarded condoms, crack pipes and needles.

In August, city cops seized 64 vehicles after a new law gave Alberta police the authority to impound the cars of people caught picking up prostitutes.


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