VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Robert Pickton inquiry has been told sex workers face increased dangers because of Canada’s prostitution laws and harassment by police.

Kate Shannon of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV AIDS says the laws and policy policies result in prostitutes taking more risks, including moving to more isolated locations and performing sex work outside.

“Prior police harassment increases both fear of violence as well as fear of arrest, which can then lead to several things, such as rushing a transaction, jumping in the car quickly, [or] moving to darker areas or more isolated areas to avoid police,” she told the Inquiry.

She says she interviewed more than 200 sex workers between 2006 and 2008 and found more than half reported being victims of violence during that time.

Shannon is the second witness to condemn Canada’s prostitution laws, and says decriminalizing sex work, including allowing prostitutes to work inside, would make the workers much safer.