A new billboard aimed at deterring prostitution in downtown Sudbury is getting a thumbs up from a local resident.

Lori Wall has long worked to curb the sex trade in her neighbourhood and says the billboard that just went up at the corner of Kathleen and College streets is a step In the right direction.

It reads "Real men don’t buy girls" and is meant to target those who buy sex from young women.

"This is what we want to see," said Wall upon seeing the three-by-six metre sign, which went up following efforts by community groups including Health Sciences North and the YWCA of Sudbury. It shows the silhouette of a woman leaning into the window of a car.

"This is exactly what goes on, all the way down this strip," said Wall, indicating the notorious stretch of Kathleen Street.

"Most of these people working the streets are not from our neighbourhood, they're from elsewhere. And the johns coming into the neighbourhood are also from other parts of the city," she added.

Wall has lived in the neighbourhood for 40 years and says over the past four years prostitution has become a major issue. She says she has spoken to city and police officials but hasn’t seen any change until today.

Wall says her hope has been restored by the billboard. It is scheduled to be up for one month, though she would like to see it remain longer.

"This is really, really good. I'm happy to see this," she said.

The campaign was spearheaded by Christine Schmidt, head of the Sudbury Women’s Centre, who hopes it will create a dialogue.

The sign’s placement over Kingsway Street gives it context, she says.

From a report by Amy Dodge