Sex workers cashing in on Alberta's oil boom
Last Updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 | 3:30 AM MT
Alberta's red-hot economy appears to be fuelling a flourishing sex trade as prostitutes follow men to the oil and gas fields.
And they're making big money when they get there, the sex-trade workers say.
"Truckers are big business and they're on the road for long stretches of time and they want to have adult entertainment," says Chastity, one of the strippers frequently seen working the bars in small boomtowns such as High Level, Alta.
Oil workers often live in makeshift camps for extended periods, and sex-trade workers say many escorts are willing to travel to places like High Level, just south of the Northwest Territories, to meet their clients.
Alberta's prostitutes have followed the money all over the province, says longtime sex trade worker Carol-Lyn Strachan.
She says one girl claimed she could earn $15,000 within one week. "That's why they're travelling: they're going to where the money is," Strachan says.
"Just look at the back of one of the papers. Every ad. Travel. Say you want to go to Banff. A girl can make $2,000 and come back to Edmonton."
It's simple supply and demand. And with Alberta's economy cooking with oil and gas, demand shows no sign of waning. Neither does the supply of women willing to keep coming here.
Still, no one in High Level seems overly concerned about what's happening.
"I'm not aware of an arrest or an altercation with anyone locally with anybody involved in the sex trade," said Deputy Mayor Clark McAskile.
Officers at the High Level RCMP detachment agree.
"To say that there is an open sex trade in High Level is definitely to the contrary," says Staff-Sgt. Steve Wright.