CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
  1. WARNING: This site contains images, content and language of a graphic nature
  2. They would be shocked to see what kind of people are coming to see us. We wouldn't be doing this well if your husbands and boyfriends and friends weren't coming to see us. It's that simple.

    - Iris

    Boomtown

    Newfoundland's economy is booming. The money is flowing from oil and other megaprojects. It's flowing into big luxury houses, expensive cars, high-end restaurants and stores. And as money will, it's flowing into other industries - those not promoted in glossy tourism ads, but in Not Safe For Work sites on the internet. The province's new economy has created a new workforce - travelling prostitutes. Cities like St. John's have always known prostitution. But in the last 16 months, the boom has exploded.

    Fuelled by the prospect of thousands of dollars coupled with the anonymity and ease of the internet, escorts are flying here from Toronto, Vancouver and other Canadian cities. CBC Investigates discovered close to 40 women who include Newfoundland on their touring schedules. They offer every service imaginable, and some you can't imagine. Why? Escorts can make over $20,000 in less than three weeks with one city, one tour.

    Heavy competition in bigger cities means escorts like Toronto-based "Mary" fly to smaller places where clientele have open wallets and a taste for variety. It's easy. She and local escorts like "Iris" post their services and availability online. Iris - a high end escort in St. John's - has her own website, which registered 6,000 hits last month - a significant increase for her. Iris also travels. She's due in two Canadian cities later this summer.

    Clients find Iris's website through ads she posts online. In this province, the go-to site is NLadultclassifieds, a one-stop shop for buying and selling sex. Using words like "hot," "sexy" and "available," and banner ads of women naked or half-naked making promises of services for cash, the site posts announcements of who is coming to town and when. It's advertising that is so effective, Iris says she has to turn away clients.

    "Mary" and "Iris" sat down with CBC Investigate's reporter Adam Walsh recently to explain how they do what they do, and why. "Mary" and "Iris" are not their real names.

    Interview with Mary

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    Interview with Iris

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  3. We are also highly supportive of the fact that you are a student and applaud your goal of using this job as a stepping stone to further your future.

    - Enchanting Temptations responding to "Kayla"

    The local market

    The laws of supply and demand apply to prostitution just like any other industry. As more and more clients hunger for different escorts offering that desired variety, the net widens to feed that demand. And young women are interested. Since October, NLadultclassifieds has been showing photo after photo of naked, young women. All promising to be nice, drug free and talented. Available in St. John's, Carbonear and Mount Pearl, Gander, Deer Lake, Lewisporte.

    And NLadultclassifieds is looking for the next Dakota, Barbie or Britney with ads like these: "Any $truggling student looking for candy and play?"; "Looking for motivated, intelligent and sexy young women **Our girls make a minimum of $150/ hr." "Generou$ male $eeking young female." Among the posts, several seeking out the sexual services of students, in exchange for cash. They have titles like: "$truggling university or college student" and "ANY GIRL $TUDENT$ LOOKING FOR CASH"

    Kayla

    CBC Investigates set out to find out who's buying - and recruiting - especially recruiting students. Reporter Jen White posing as "Kayla," responded to several ads on NLadultclassifieds, including one from Enchanting Temptations, a female-run Toronto-based escort agency, which recently opened a branch in St. John's. "There will, like any other job, be some getting used to," the agency said in a lengthy email response to "Kayla."

    It also said: "We are also highly supportive of the fact that you are a student and applaud your goal of using this job as a stepping stone to further your future."

    "Kayla" then posted her own ad, stating just a few details about herself, and that she was a student who's strapped for cash. The ad was posted around 5 p.m. on a Monday evening. Within 15 minutes, Kayla had four responses. Within 24 hours, there were close to 50. They were from men ranging in age anywhere from 19 to 47, to men who described themselves as "mature professionals." They were single, "attached," married.

    Emails to Kayla

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  4. A John's perspective

    "In my own case, I know what I'm doing is wrong. It is cheating. But, it's almost like sex is my own drug problem." - a John contacted by CBC Investigates.

    CBC Investigates was able to get in touch with a "John" - a man who has been visiting massage parlours and escorts for 15 years.

    Before I get into any of this, I would like to say that i am not proud of the fact that I frequent escorts and massage parlours. When I do go to see them, I go out of my way treat them all with respect, because I know that this is not a career choice that they aspired to. In a lot of my encounters, I have been told that I seem like a decent person, and besides the expected sexual encounter, we usually have some genuine laughs together and some conversation. It may seem odd, but I guess I try and seek some kind of a connection with the women I see.

    I do think what you are doing is interesting. More light should be shed on this. Perhaps it will curb some of the activity – which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    There seem to be a lot more women working as Service Providers in the province these days. What changes are you noticing?

    When I first started going to massage parlours about 15 years ago, there were no extras offered. You would get the "happy ending" – but that was about it. Then, slowly they offered more in the way of extras. Some places were sketchier than others. I think the worst places were hiring the dancers at some of strip clubs (That's my understanding, anyway). But, the two or three places that would frequent most, often employed local women – who I always found to be amiable and fun to be with. They all had limits of what they would allow, and I always respect peoples boundaries. But, the more you see them, the more trusting they would be to accommodate your needs.

    Maybe some guys want to go in and get to it quickly, but I always wanted the full experience. If I'm paying $200 for an hour, I'm not interested in having someone get me off in the first 10 minutes. And that seems to be the way the one's from out of the Province operate. If you don't get your money's worth (you usually pay up front), who are you going to complain to?

    The biggest change I have seen is I see more professional women who have day jobs (and decent ones). I’ve seen a teacher, real estate agent, nurse, operating room assistant, actual massage therapy professional, and MUN students. It’s not the under side of society. There are still some women who work as check out clerks and home care workers, but the professionals seem to working as SPs in bigger numbers.

    Why do you think there would be more escorts available? The economy? NL getting more cosmopolitan?

    I definitely think it's the economy. There's more demand from people who are working offshore, or in Alberta. And there’s more people here on business, and that seems to be reflected in the price they're charging. $300 and $350 an hour seems a bit steep to me, for what you're getting.

    How much demand do you think there is right now locally for services like these?

    There seems to be a huge demand. There are a lot of married guys – like me – who are going outside to fulfill our fantasies. I guess a lot go to the street walkers, but that doesn’t interest me. I feel bad for those women. I think they are the ones who are really marginalized. And, from what I hear, drugs are a big problem with them. Twice I had someone that I think was on drugs. And I cut the visit short and made sure that it was strictly a hand job and nothing more.

    Why do men like yourself...you say you’re married, you’re obviously well-educated...use services like these?

    As I already said, a lot of us are going for the thrill of another woman. In my own case, I know what I’m doing is wrong. It is cheating. But, it’s almost like sex is my own drug problem. And when I go to massage parlours I can be myself, and request something different or kinky. I don’t have to hide my sexual preferences, or be ashamed of them. The really good women will make you feel that much more special for the things you can’t admit to your own wife. In my case it’s women’s underwear and stockings. I have had experiences with other guys and still do at times. I don’t know if I’m bi or just open.

    You obviously feel some of the local SPs are not as professional as they should be: in your experience, how many live up to their billing, and how many fall short?

    Lately, it seems that 75 percent of the SPs that advertise online do not live up to their billing. And it seems to be the ones who aren’t working out of here. They are here for a week or two, and then they’re gone. I don’t feel like they really enjoy what they do (if that’s even possible). They seem to go through the motions as fast as they can, so they can get you out of there.

    What are your criteria for a good SP?

    My criteria is not that stringent. I like to have a woman who is attractive. She doesn’t have to have the perfect body or prettiest face. I like someone who is real looking. Size doesn’t matter to me, but someone who will be dressed in something sexy is important. And someone who makes me feel special. And I realize they are paid for that. But it is important for her to be comfortable enough to talk and laugh at my attempts at jokes. There’s nothing that puts me off more than someone who doesn’t want to chat. I guess I’m looking for the GFE (girl friend experience).

    In a small city like this, how worried are you about the possibility of friends/family finding out you use these services?

    I guess it’s always a risk that someone could find out. But I minimize that risk by only going to massage parlours or hotels in the evening. I pretty much know areas where I could possibly see people I know, so those are the places that I would avoid. And before I go anywhere, I always have an excuse as to why I would be in a certain place if i do meet someone I know. But as for seeing someone I know in the same establishment, then I guess we would both have a reason to keep it secret.

  5. The grim reality

    There are the "Irises" and "Marys" who are comfortable with their choices - and the money that comes with it. But there are also "Jessies" and "Saras" and "Briannas." Those women lived lives of unwanted sex, drugs and violence, often starting at early ages. Eventually tiring of the risks they were taking, they chose to leave those lives behind. They discovered while it was hard to be in that world, it was equally hard to get out of it and stay out.

    Interview with Jessie

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    Interview with Briana

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    Interview with Sara

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    "I run into Johns that I had when they're at the mall with their wives. Or they're in a club, or wherever I am. And I run into girls all the time." - "Jessie"

    It's why Angela Crockwell doesn't like what she sees on sites like NLadultclassifieds. Crockwell is executive director with Thrive, a group that is fighting to make sexual exploitation and human trafficking an issue in the province. She's worried that what used to be seen on the streets is now thriving online - where it's harder to find women in trouble, and harder to help them.

    "It's really concerning and really pretty scary. When you think about 18 year olds who are posting on that. Again, from my experience the truth is that most people probably didn't wake up at 18 and make those choices," Crockwell says.

    CBC Investigates found three former sex workers who were willing to share their stories. Their names have been changed, their faces darkened - and in one woman's case, her voice has been changed - to protect their identities.

    Interview with Angela Crockwell

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