St. Thomas police debate whether to follow London's lead in naming sex purchasers

Three months after London police announced they would start naming alleged sex purchasers whenever legally possible, police in St. Thomas are looking for public feedback on the issue.

London police to name sex purchasers where legally possible

The force conducted a Facebook poll over the weekend, which suggested the community was divided over the idea with slightly more people opposing the idea of releasing names.

“We are still in the research stages, and we are actively seeking out opinion from advocacy groups and our community partners and people with lived experience,” said Const. Tanya Calvert with St. Thomas police.

“This is quite an endeavour to make sure that the decision is what’s in the best interest of our community.”

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London’s move to start naming alleged sex purchasers whenever legally possible was supported by the London Abused Women’s Centre, which argued it will help decrease demand, but SafeSpace London has staunchly opposed the decision.

“Ending demand campaigns don’t work — there is always going to be demand. What we need to focus on is how to make us safe, how to put policies and procedures in place so that our lives aren’t at risk. When you’re putting sex workers in the spotlight of ‘it’s harmful and they’re on a human trafficking basis,’ it’s not true,” said SafeSpace’s Leticia Margone.

“We’re asking to be listened to and we are actively being ignored and that’s not okay. People are making policies on our lives and putting us at risk. For what? For morality? It’s not right.”

SafeSpace London fears naming johns could increase danger for sex workers

Calvert stressed that a decision is not expected any time soon and the force is simply gathering information to make an informed choice.

“The chances are likely that at some point in time we will run into this situation and the decision will have to be made. But we are going to take our time and deliver all the pros and cons, and I don’t believe that there would be a formal decision made or a formal statement issued.”

— with files from 980 CFPL’s Jaime McKee.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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