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Sex work secrecy limits safeguards

CBC News, Canada
May 18, 2010 -- The unregulated and underground practice of street prostitution makes it difficult to counteract the dangers of the job, says a women's advocate.

Louise Crane, a women's health advocate in Calgary, said many prostitutes are forced to work in secret to avoid getting caught.


Their secretive jobs make it difficult to watch out for them, said Crane.


"In legitimate trades, people watch out for you," said Crane. "There are trade unions and worker laws; the sex trade doesn't have that."


Some women's advocates said it's hard to measure just how dangerous street work is, as most crimes against sex workers go unreported.


"There's a lot of bad, slimy dates out there," said a Calgary sex worker. "It's very, very dangerous."


She said she stays safe by intimidation and following who her gut tells her to trust. Sometimes her gut tells her 'no' five times in one night.


Money vs. danger
CBC News spoke to another street prostitute who said she knows her job is dangerous, but she can't make the same money doing anything else.


"I worked at a temp agency and I worked eight hours for $89 for the whole day," she said. "I can go down there and make $89 in 10 minutes."


She picks up johns on 17th Avenue at night.


While street prostitution is dangerous in Calgary, sex work is becoming more organized and more political in other Canadian cities.


A group of sex workers in Vancouver is trying to set up a sex co-operative where workers pay membership fees.


So far, ideas like that one have not caught on in Calgary.


Source: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/calgary/story/2010/05/18/calgary-prostitute-dan...

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