Calgary Police Service partners with HER Victory to protect sex workers
Together with HER Victory, the Calgary Police Service has launched a dedicated reporting method for sex workers in Calgary to report incidents of violence and other safety concerns to police.
Through the Bad Date Line, sex workers in Calgary will be able to report situations involving harmful, violent and/or abusive customers, as well as incidents of victimization and other safety concerns directly to police. This information will not be used by police to target sex workers, and will instead be used by police to target individuals causing harm to sex workers.
“Historically, we know crimes against sex workers are underreported to police for a variety of reasons,” says Acting Staff Sergeant Shelby Stewart from CPS District 4 General Investigations Unit. “Our intent with this initiative is to reduce barriers that may have prevented sex workers from reporting to police in the past and provide alternative options for them to report information to us.”
A dedicated phone number (403-816-9400) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) have been created for individuals to report their information to police in a less formalized way. The phone number and email address will be monitored by CPS officers in District 4, which covers the location of one of Calgary’s last prostitution strolls. Individuals can use these methods to report:
- Incidents of violence against sex workers
- Information about “bad dates,” or situations involving harmful, violent and/or abusive customers
- The victimization of sex workers
- Other safety concerns impacting sex workers
“This information is crucial for our ability to identify and address crime trends impacting sex workers,” says Acting Staff Sergeant Stewart. “With this information we can direct our resources as necessary to keep sex workers safe, ensure sex workers have access to wraparound supports and when required, investigate crimes that victimize sex workers.”
To launch this initiative, we worked closely with Her Victory, an organization that serves individuals who are involved with prostitution, caught in the sex trade, exploited or at risk of being trafficked.
“We want to thank the Calgary Police Service for their initiative to further protect those facing exploitation in our city,” says Jacquie Meyer, Founder of HER Victory. “Together, this will enable those caught in the sex trade to confidentially report incidents, create safe working spaces, and reduce the gap between victims and police. Sexual violence is frequently underreported, this creates a safe and effective way for individuals to disclose information and receive support.”
The Bad Date Line and email address will not be monitored 24/7. Anyone in immediate danger should contact 9-1-1. Additionally, anyone wishing to report a sexual assault should contact police as soon as possible, by calling 403-266-1234.
For additional information, visit www.calgary.ca/bad-date.