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



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Friday, April 8, 2011
Contact: Dylan Wolf, SWANK, 347-748-9163,
Sarah Jenny Bleviss, SWOP-NYC, 347-841-4908,

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

Canada: There are warnings, but not all hear

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

Canada: Mother’s death a puzzle with missing pieces

Monday, December 14, 2009
Lori Culbert

Mary Jane Hill died on Highway 16. Thirty years later, a daughter who
was six months old at the time seeks answers

PRINCE RUPERT — Vicki Hill was just six months old when her mother
was found dead along Highway 16.

[photo caption]
Memories of her murdered mother, Mary Jane Hill, displayed by daughter
Vicki Hill. Over a period of more than 40 years, more than two dozen
women have vanished or been found murdered along Hwy. 16. Many of the
young women were hitchhiking.

Thirty years later, the case remains unsolved. Continue reading

Canada: Murder meeting drew investigators

Monday, December 14, 2009
Neal Hall
p. A9.

About 40 detectives turned out to compare notes on Highway Murders in
B.C. and Alberta

In 1981, a Kamloops RCMP investigator named Mike Eastham organized a
conference to compare notes on the growing number of unsolved female
homicides along highways in the Interior of B.C. and into Alberta.

[photo caption]
Sgt. Mike Eastham of the Kamloops RCMP detachment (left) discusses
information on unsolved slayings of 28 women on B.C. and Alberta
highways with Cpl. Ray Munroe of Edmonton and Cpl. Dwight Hoglund of
Calgary in Kamloops, on Nov. 18, 1981. Continue reading

Canada: Possible suspects haunt detectives

Monday, December 14, 2009
Neal Hall

There has never been an arrest in the Highway of Tears mystery

Aformer Kamloops detective got excited about a possible break in the
murder of Colleen Rae MacMillen, 16, when a U.S. man confessed to
killing her.

An artist’s sketch showing the suspected Highway of Tears killer and
his hitchhiking victim. The drawing was released in June 1981. Continue reading

Canada: VANISHING POINT: The highway murders

Saturday, December 12, 2009
Lori Culbert and Neal Hall

The official list of missing o[f] murdered young women on B.C. and Alberta highways contains 18 names. But many more victims may have left anguished families behind.

In their hunt to determine whether a serial killer is preying on girls and women along B.C. roadways, investigators have identified 2,000 “persons of interest” in the so-called Highway of Tears investigation.

Project E-Pana, the joint RCMP-Vancouver police unit probing missing and murdered women along B.C. highways, previously has been tightlipped about the high-profile investigation. Continue reading

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