Durham Regional Police have heard the community’s concerns about sex trade activities and have been actively conducting enforcement in areas of concern. Project Middleton has diverted approximately 80 sex trade workers and over 100 johns from the criminal justice system to the John Howard Society for assistance, rehabilitation, and education over the past six months.
On Tuesday, August 31 the Central East Division Target Team continued to strengthen relationships with residents in the Celina/Albert street area of Oshawa by knocking on doors and distributing an information pamphlet about community safety. Approximately 40 uniform, auxiliary and DRAVIS officers encouraged residents to report criminal activity in their community to police.
DRPS takes a zero-tolerance approach regarding prostitution. Sex trade workers are frequent targets of sexual assaults and other violent crimes, many of which go unreported. Money obtained by sex trade workers is often used for the purchase of illegal drugs. Drug use can create and prolong physical illnesses, mental health issues and family issues. Neighbourhoods are affected by an increase in vehicular traffic, discarded needles and used condoms as well as an increase in gang and drug activity – all directly connected to the sex trade. Some residents avoid the streets and do not visit local businesses out of fear of being harassed by sex trade clients or workers.
Central East Division officers have received numerous phone calls, personal visits and letters of thanks from community members who have noticed a difference in the level of prostitution activity. We want to thank the many citizens, business owners and civic leaders who are co-operating with the enforcement campaign and who continue to support our officers. We also want to thank our community partners, including the John Howard Society, Salvation Army, Distress Centre Durham and the Pinewood Centre, who work with those arrested and charged to try to change the course of their lives through education, addiction counseling and other support services.
Anyone with new information about this ongoing initiative is asked to contact the DRPS Central East Division at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1768. Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or on the website at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca and tipsters are eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000.
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Distributing information brochures about prostitution awareness (JPG file, 401.4K bytes)
Many residents were happy to see officers being proactive (JPG file, 423.5K bytes)
Taking back the streets (JPG file, 372.2K bytes)