Serial Killer targets Prostitutes

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Serial Killer Targets Prostitutes As Vancouver Protests Cell Phones

Twenty one women who had worked as prostitutes in the tough east side of downtown Vancouver, BC, have been missing since 1995. Many believe they are the victims of a serial killer who is still in the area.

Vancouver's mayor has proposed offering a reward of up to $2 million for information that helps solve the case. But little is being done to give the prostitutes who are still alive some protection, or to economically empower them so they can leave this dangerous work.

The British Columbia's Ministry of Women's Equality did take some contructive action. They organized a government program which has provided 100 cell phones for the approximately 1,000 prostitutes working in the area. The cell phones, which can only dial 911, have been donated or are being bought second-hand.

The program, which costs an entire $3,000, has been met with public outrage. "This is absolutely disgusting. What's next: two-bedroom condos to work in?" one man wrote in one of the letters on the subject printed in the Vancouver Province newspaper.

Women's Equality Minister Sue Hammell said she won't be backing off the project. Unfortunately, the clammering protest means that greater actions by the government to protect the prostitutes of the area probably won't even be considered.

In May, more than 300 people held a memorial service for the missing women. Family members lit a candle for each woman during the ceremony, which was followed by a march through the city streets.

(CP, May 18 and AP, May 17, 1999)

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Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016