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Former hooker to help others

By AJAY BHARDWAJ, EDMONTON SUN

May 21, 2006

She beat crack. She escaped a life of prostitution.

Now a former sex-trade worker says God is calling her back to Edmonton to help others involved in prostitution get off the streets.

"A lot of women went missing and died. I don't know why I was spared," said the woman, who now has a job and is raising a child of her own. She didn't want to be identified.

"It's only through the grace of Christ that I'm here and that's why this is the time for me to reach out and help."

Now 35, she's been off the streets of Vancouver and Edmonton for 11 years. She worked the gritty 97 Street stroll in town and in Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside.

After five years in the sex trade, where she earned $100 per trick but had no money to show for it, she had an epiphany as she sat in a living room with her pimp and drug dealer while preparing to go to work.

"The whole reason my drug dealer was making money, the whole reason my pimp was making money was because of me," she said.

Spurred by her mother's "tough love," she disappeared from the street, checked into drug rehab and cleaned up her act.

On Thursday she attended a vigil organized by the Prostitution Awareness and Action Foundation of Edmonton to honour women and children affected by violence.

Family and supporters of women killed while they worked in the sex trade - including Theresa Innes, found dead two weeks ago in Fort Saskatchewan - were also honoured.

Just last week, Bonnie Lynn Jack was added to the list of victims.

Jack's body was found Tuesday by a couple walking near Township Road 542 and Range Road 225, south of Fort Saskatchewan, police said.

PAAFE executive director Kate Quinn said the prostitution "survivor" could be a beacon of hope for other women trying to escape street life.

"The more the women on the street see women who've survived ... the more they'll think they can do it, too," Quinn said.

The Edmonton Sun

 

Email: wleng#missingpeople.net 

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

Updated: August 21, 2016