November 15, 2013 - 9:52 AM
VERNON - An RCMP initiative aimed at the sex trade in downtown Vernon recently targeted prostitutes netting six workers, all in an effort to make the streets safer and to help women in the business find alternative careers.
Police received numerous complaints this past spring and summer from the public and elected officials about an active and very open sex trade in the city. Police response lead to investigations of assaults, as well as property and mischief crimes. With public safety and the safety of sex trade workers in mind, Mounties started an undercover operation focussing first on identifying those involved in the local sex trade industry.
On Sept. 27, police began to round up consumers, or "Johns", arrested six men for communicating for the purpose of prostitution. They've been released but will appear for future court dates. In an effort to curb the behaviour of accused "Johns", each is given an opportunity to attend a seminar commonly known as "John school". It's paid for by the accused and if they finish the course, charges will not be forwarded to Crown counsel.
The next phase of the operation involved rounding up the sex trade workers themselves, known as "Janes". Six women were taken into custody for communicaton for the purpose of prostitution. The women were each connected with community resources through Interior Health. They were provided with information to help them find resources such as food and shelter, and to enable them to change their lifestyle. They can also attend a workshop with the Now Society, a sex workers alternative program based in Kelowna. The program can assist them in acquiring access to a support network to help them rebuild their lives.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013