Picture1 In 2003 Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway confessed to having strangled ninety women to death and having “sex” with their dead bodies.

He stated: “I picked prostitutes as victims because they were easy to pick up without being noticed. I knew they would not be reported missing right away and might never be reported missing. I picked prostitutes because I thought I could kill as many of them as I wanted without getting caught.” (on the issues magazine, 2008)

Violent crimes against sex workers often go unreported, unaddressed and unpunished.  There are people who really don’t care when prostitutes are victims of hate crimes, beaten, raped and murdered.

They will say:

“They got what they deserved.”

“They were trash.”

“They asked for it”

“The world is better off without those whores.”

Violence against women and domestic violence though still somewhat  hidden problems, have captured the media and public’s attention… but what about violence against sex workers?

Sex workers are women of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, classes and backgrounds who are working in the sex industry for a wide range of reasons.   The stigma attached to their occupation have generated a sort of apathy and disgust towards these workers almost to a point where they have been dehumanized.  The truth is, they are every bit like any one of us.  Some of us have been, or will become, real victims of rape, robbery and horrendous crimes.

We are a group of business students at SFU (Helen, Beatrice, Chitra and Jason) who will be tackling this social problem in Vancouver’s downtown east side (DTES) in the next 5 weeks.  We selected this topic due to the lack of attention and coverage this problem has received.  These women are vulnerable and helpless and deserve just as much attention and protection from the police as any other citizen without recrimination.

Comments are much welcomed.  We appreciate your feedback and thoughts on this issue.


4 responses

25 07 2009

Your first page starts with such shocking news story of a cruel and grotesque confession of a murderer, Gary Ridgeway. Although this confession of the murderer is very offensive and startling to understand, I agree that a more tragic reality is the fact that nobody actually pays much attention to the death of fellow human beings due to their occupation and social status.

What do you guys believe that we can do to change the perception of us viewing sex trade workers? Even though their occupation would never be welcomed to the majority of society, we may still need to prevent the cruel treatment towards the sex trade workers.

Do you believe that raising the awareness of the stories of sex trade workers in the form of magazine would actually change the people’s indifferent attitudes to the violence against sex trade workers?

26 07 2009

I think if more people talk about it….it’ll show the severity of the problem. Often it seems like these stories are mentioned briefly in the news then it sorta just fades away…people don’t remember victimized sex workers.
We need a sort of bandwagon effect to take place…start a social network with a group of people who care. show the world that these people regardless of what occupation they are in, they deserve to be helped…etc…we’re focusing on the cell phone harm reduction initiative…involving the community in the process to hopefully curb stigma. We need the public to show they care…hopefully that way it reduces hate crimes against sex workers. But changing perceptions….takes time….and is quite difficult to measure.

I feel the magazine would be a way to share their stories with the world but Graham is right, the readers may not be our target audience and a medium like 24 or metro where it targets the greater general public may be more useful…only after really looking deep into the issue….we really how difficult and complicated it is.

27 07 2009

The news that you guys found has really surprised me, however, I agree that there must be people thinking this way. By reading through your blogs, my perception to sex street workers has changed dramaticly. Honestly, I have never paid too much attention to them, and never realized this is actually a serious problem until I read through your blogs. I do agree that changing people’s perception to these women should be the first step to take.

2 08 2009

Unfortunately, you are correct when saying that this is a taboo subject in many circles. Most people don’t feel comfortable talking about this. It’s too ‘real’. Any awareness you can generate is positive in my view. I do find so many Canadian articles/studies on the subject to be ‘clinical’….all talk and no action. Vancouverites and Canadians in general need to be more pro-active on the subject.

We are way behind the Scandinavians — please read about Swedens prostitution laws (Norway and Iceland have since adopted the same laws).


Good luck with your project, and let’s hope it helps these women.

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