Author tries to raise awareness of Vancouver's missing prostitutes

Canadian Press

November 5, 2004

VANCOUVER (CP) -- When she wrote Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister, Maggie de Vries used her sister Sarah's journals and poetry.

Maggie de Vries

Now, de Vries will be using some of those extracts as she presents a talk to raise awareness of Vancouver's missing women and prostitution in general. She'll be doing it Nov. 22 at Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox Library, a few kilometres from where her sister's DNA was found at the farm of accused serial killer Robert William Pickton.

"Port Coquitlam has decided they want to do something to start to talk about what has happened in their city," de Vries said. "I take a large picture of Sarah with me and I tell my story and hers together. I'll try to show Sarah was a person and, by extension, all the other missing women were people.

"I'll talk about what it's like to have Sarah's life on display. That's very difficult."

In 1998, Sarah de Vries vanished from the streets of Vancouver's squalid Downtown Eastside where she had been a drug-addicted prostitute.

As Maggie de Vries prepared for her talk, she went by the Pickton property which has been razed by police as they performed their investigation.

"It's all dug up and it's all just gone, which is just as well," she said.

The case prompted her to pen her book, which won the VanCity Book Prize for the best B.C. book related to women's issues and also the first George Ryga Award for social awareness in B.C. literature.

 Canadian Press 2004

Missing Sarah, A Vancouver women remembers her vanished sister-2003

Maggie de Vries webpage

A sister lost to drugs, prostitution and maybe a serial killer-Oct 15, 2004



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