Nfld. & Labrador

Little support for women in sex trade, groups say

Local outreach workers say support is almost non-existent – but badly needed – for women in the sex industry.

Sex worker support

9 years ago
Duration 2:19
Outreach groups say more support is needed for women in the local sex industry, Adam Walsh reports

Local outreach workers say support is almost non-existent – but badly needed – for women in the sex industry.

A recent CBC Investigates series revealed that the sex trade in Newfoundland and Labrador is booming, and that recruiting to meet the growing demand is focusing on young women.

Leslie MacLeod, executive director of the St. John's Status of Women Council, said the series has highlighted the fact that there's not enough support for women who want to get out of the business.

"We can do it in the city, we have the expertise. We need to come together and be able to create that and have funding to sustain it," said MacLeod.

She said she hears many harrowing stories about women in the sex trade.

"Whether it's a travelling worker in the sex trade, who's travelling in and out of province but is assaulted while she's here. whether it's the 16-year-old on the street who might not survive another night if she doesn't get off that street and come in out of the cold, or whether it's the 30-year-old who's just done and wants some long-term support," said MacLeod.

Angela Crockwell, executive director of the Thrive Community Youth Network, has spent years helping exploited teens and young women escape the industry.

"That culture and that world is very different than mainstream living, and how do you get paid, and those kinds of things. So there's a huge transition for people," she said.

"I do think real wrap-around supports are really critical to help people deal with the trauma and the violence."

MacLeod said she isn't only making a plea to the provincial government for help. She's says corporations, philanthropists, and other people in the community should also be pitching in.