Prostitution arrests concern Moncton advocacy groups
Sex-trade workers should not fear police, YWCA Moncton official says
Some social advocacy groups are calling on the police in Moncton to rethink how they deal with sex-trade workers in the city.
Last Thursday, the RCMP arrested 11 women between the ages of 21 and 61 for prostitution-related offences in the St. George Street area.
Each woman was brought in separately, in what the RCMP says was an operation lasting several hours.
Beth Lyons, the associate director at the YWCA in Moncton, said she’s concerned about the impact the arrests will have on sex-trade workers.
"Women should not be going to jail for this, they need to be able to view police as a resource not as an authoritarian force to fear, and that's just not the case right now," she said.
Lyons said other cities are managing issues around sex workers in a much more compassionate and effective way.
She said Moncton should strive to be a more inclusive community.
"I don't want to live in a community where women are treated like this, where the police are a group to be feared, where they are going to be given restrictions rather than services and where they fear reporting crimes because there are going to be very serious repercussions," Lyons said.
"That's not my community."
Lyons isn’t the only one expressing concerns about how the police handled the prostitution arrests.
Angie Arsenault-Daigle, a nurse practitioner at Salvus, a clinic that provides health-care services to people in need, said the arrests have really shaken up the community.
"These are not the hardened criminals that people think they are, a lot of them have just done what they've had to do to get by," she said.
Arsenault-Daigle said there is safety in numbers for women working in the sex trade.
But street workers can't organize, until they feel can come out of hiding.