VANCOUVER EASTSIDE MISSING WOMEN
Sex trade worker believes she was raped by serial killer Robert Pickton
NEIL HALL, VANCOUVER SUN October 31, 2011
VANCOUVER - A sex trade worker testified today at the Missing Women inquiry that she believes she was assaulted and raped by serial killer Robert Pickton two decades ago.
Susan Davis recalled she called 911 three times to report the matter but police never showed up.
She said she waited on a street corner for an hour for police to take her statement but finally left because it was cold.
"There was a blizzard," she recalled.
"There was snow every where. I had to hop over a snowbank to get into the car," Davis told inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal.
She said the incident occurred sometime around January 1991.
Davis said the man was driving a beat-up station wagon and took her to a location where he punched her in the face and raped her at knifepoint.
She recalled he had thin hair and smelled badly.
She said she called 911 to report it to police and was transferred to a police officer who said he would meet her at Second and Main Street.
She phoned the officer twice more when he didn't show and finally left.
She said the incident was reflective of the Vancouver police indifference to violence against sex trade workers.
It was also a common experience for sex trade workers, she said.
That's one of the reasons there has been a traditional distrust of police, but admitted there has been a change in attitude in the Vancouver police department, especially among the younger officers who try to make sure women working the street are safe.
Davis, 43, has been an advocate for decriminalizing street prostitution to make it safer. She has been a sex trade worker for 25 years.
"You have no way to protect yourself," she recalled about getting into a car with a stranger.
She said indoor sex work is safer because you can screen your clients and have control over your working environment.
Street sex workers used to rent hotel rooms in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside for $20 an hour, she recalled.
She suggested there needs to be more "exit" services for street sex workers if they want to get off the street.
Most street sex workers only make enough money to survive and pay for drugs, Davis said.
Davis added that street sex workers are preyed on by drug dealers.
"Everything you earn is the property of drug dealers," she testified.
She said drug dealers don't want street workers to die, they just want them to pay their debts.
But occasionally women get pushed out of windows, Davis said.
The inquiry is examining why Pickton wasn't caught sooner.
He was arrested in 2002 and eventually charged with 27 counts of first-degree murder, which were divided into two trials.
Pickton, 62, was convicted of six murders in 2007.
The Crown decided not to proceed on a second trial after Pickton exhausted all appeals.
The inquiry is also probing why the Crown stayed an attempted murder charge in 1998 against Pickton.
The charges stemmed from a 1997 knife attack on a prostitute, who ran naked and bleeding from Pickton's farm in Port Coquitlam and was picked up by a passing motorist.
The inquiry will continue Tuesday with Elaine Allan, who worked at the WISH drop-in centre for street sex workers between 1998 and 2001.
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Updated: August 21, 2016