Concerns for Sex Workers Amid Serial Killer Investigation

Sex workers are being advised to use the buddy system so that someone knows where they are.
Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 | Updated 3:12 PM EDTBy Chris Glorioso

The investigation into a suspected serial killer who may have preyed on prostitutes, dumping their bodies near beaches on Long Island, has spawned new warnings for sex workers who advertise online.

Police have yet to identify all the victims, or even say whether the latest six sets of remains are linked to the first four found last December.

But the first four bodies were identified as young women who all posted sex ads on Craigslist. And that has advocates for sex workers making extra efforts to counsel the women on best practices to avoid violent clients. Continue reading

Legal prostitution would be safer

By Daniel Akst
Thursday, April 14, 2011 – Updated 2 days ago

Remember Chandra Levy? How about Natalee Holloway? Nothing is more effective at triggering a media frenzy than the disappearance of an attractive young white woman. That’s what happened when Levy, a Washington intern, vanished in 2001 and Holloway disappeared in Aruba four years later. Sadly, things are different when the woman has accepted money for sex.

Police have so far found the bodies of four young white women, all prostitutes, in scrubby dunes on the beaches of New York’s Long Island (five and possibly six more sets of remains are unidentified). The women had been missing for months or even years.

It’s hard to see what change in law might save someone from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But some of the Gilgo Beach deaths might well have been averted if Continue reading

SEX WORKER GROUPS RESPOND TO LONG ISLAND MURDERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, April 8, 2011
Contact: Dylan Wolf, SWANK, 347-748-9163, swank@riseup.net
Sarah Jenny Bleviss, SWOP-NYC, 347-841-4908, swop.nyc@gmail.com

New York – Sex Workers Action New York (SWANK) and Sex Workers Outreach Project NYC (SWOP-NYC) are dismayed that four more bodies were discovered on Long Island earlier this week. Police believe that a serial killer is responsible for murdering at least eight people found on a remote Suffolk County beach since December. Reports indicate the murder victims were in the sex trade. As sex workers and allies, SWANK and SWOP-NYC mourn the lives of these individuals and extend our sympathies to their families and communities.

“Sex workers are targeted for violence because of the stigma against what we do,” Dylan Wolf, a SWANK member said, “People think they can do whatever they want to us and they won’t get caught. And because of bad laws, social isolation and discrimination, they get away with it all the time. But like those murdered, we’re not disposable, bad people – we have lives that matter and people that love us. No matter who we are or what we do to make ends meet, we don’t deserve to die – we deserve good lives.”

A recent New York Times article suggested that dozens, if not hundreds, of people in the sex industry have been murdered in New York State since 1990. “Stories like what’s happened on Long Island make us fear for our safety,” said SWANK member Michael Bottoms, “As sex workers, we already know that stigma puts us at risk for being targeted, and so we take as many precautions as we can. But if we do experience violence, most of us can’t go to the cops, because we could get arrested, they might not take us seriously, or they could have been the ones who were violent to us in the first place.”

“When we ignore violence against sex workers, we support a culture where a serial killer can murder eight, twelve, or even dozens of sex workers without the media, the police or the general public being outraged or even thinking twice,” said Maryse Mitchell-Brody, a SWOP-NYC organizer, “We won’t end this violence by keeping the sex trade illegal, because it isn’t going anywhere – this just drives people further underground and makes them more vulnerable to violence. Murders like these show that we must use new strategies to create safety and dignity that don’t reinforce stigma or discrimination.”

To learn more about what you can do to support the rights of current and former sex workers and those with experience in the sex trade to safety and well-being, visit http://www.swop-nyc.org.

CA: Woman found slain in Burnaby park identified as 27-year-old Carla Marie Smith

VANCOUVER SUN
Tuesday, February 16, 2011

Kim Bolan

Second woman in a week found slain in a Metro Vancouver park

[photo caption]
Carla Marie Smith, 27, has been identified as the woman found slain in a North Burnaby park Monday.
Photograph by: Photo submitted, Special to the Vancouver Sun

METRO VANCOUVER — The woman found slain in a North Burnaby park Monday has been identified as 27-year-old Carla Marie Smith.

Smith was known to Vancouver police as being involved in the sex trade, Cpl. Dale Carr of the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said Tuesday.

She also used the names Carmen and Justine.

Carr said investigators have not yet determined the cause of death, or if Smith died where she was discovered or at another location.

“We are hoping that today’s autopsy will assist us with that determination,” Carr said. Continue reading

Boynton Beach escort dies, former FAU cop charged with murder

By MICHAEL LAFORGIA
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Updated: 5:22 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, 2011
Posted: 1:50 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, 2011

A woman who city detectives say was shot and wounded by an off-duty Florida Atlantic University police officer died this morning of her injuries, and investigators this afternoon added a first-degree murder charge to the allegations against him, police said.

Jimmy Dac Ho, 47, of Boynton Beach was arrested Tuesday in the shooting of Sheri Carter, 29, an escort who advertised her services on a website that has factored in numerous prostitution and human trafficking investigations.
Continue reading

Murder Investigation Uncovers Illegal Brothel in Las Vegas

POSTED: JAN 04, 2011 9:26 PM PST
UPDATED: JAN 05, 2011 11:28 AM PST

By Aaron Drawhorn, Reporter

LAS VEGAS – A high-end home turned brothel is the talk of Red Scott Circle.

“They had a red light on in the back, pretty much at late hours,” said neighbor Partap Khalsa. “It was definitely, ‘We’re in business.'”

That business, and the money it generated, may have led to the murder of Young Shil Park. Last month, hikers found the 39-year-old’s charred body in Arizona near Hoover Dam.

Metro Police say 30-year-old Min Soon Chang and 19-year-old Keon Kyun Park confessed to Young Shil Park’s murder. Police say the men beat her to death, then burned and dumped her body. Keon Kyun Park is not related to the victim. Continue reading

Canada: There are warnings, but not all hear

VANCOUVER SUN
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Lori Culbert
p. A8

Hitchhiking, once considered a normal means of transportation, is
blamed for many disappearances

NEAR STELLAKO, B.C. he slight figure has pulled the hood of her white
sweater over her head, for some feeble protection from the cold
late-November wind, and nearly blends anonymously into the snowy
background of this barren stretch of Highway 16.

Liza Nooski, 19, trudges along the tarmac where it turns due north to
curve around the west end of Fraser Lake, the bottom of her pants
covered in the brown sludge that lines the road after sanding trucks
cover the previous night’s snowfall. Continue reading

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