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Womens' groups say VPD 'indifferent' to exploitation of women in the sex trade

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Summary

'Culture of indifference' made clear by recent charges against VPD officer: group

Men get a lot of leeway, women get abandoned, says group

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A coalition of Vancouver Womens’ Groups is calling out the VPD for what they call its indifference towards men exploiting and harming women in prostitution.

The Vancouver Abolition Coalition suggests this culture of indifference is made evident in light of recent charges laid against VPD detective Jim Fisher.

The coalition’s Suzanne Jay says in spite of federal law instructing the criminalization of those who buy sexual favours, the VPD has in the past two years made no arrests of men who purchase prostituted women or girls.

“They’re operating in a culture that excuses male participation as customers, as pimps, of recruiters, as advertisers of prostitution. Men get a lot of leeway in their behaviour and women and the girls are completely abandoned,” explains Jay.

Jay says the proliferation of massage parlours exploiting Asian women throughout metro Vancouver is but one example of local police turning a blind eye toward the plight of women in the sex trade.

“We’re really concerned with the fact that the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department have allowed Asian-themed massage parlours to operate with, essentially, immunity. And we don’t see any investigations. We don’t see any attempts by the police to stop what we know is illegal activity.”

She adds the charges against Fisher are not surprising, given what the coalition calls the Vancouver Police Board’s outdated “sex work outreach policy” she says justifies male demand for prostitution.