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.