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England Prostitute Slayings

by Geraldo Rivera | Jan 23, 2007

"Am I next?" With those words in her journal, one of the dozens of prostitutes alleged murdered and dismembered by a man accused of being Canada's largest ever serial killer, worried that she would be his next victim.

If ever we needed evidence that prostitutes need some kind of protection, it's on grisly display up in Vancouver.
Rick Frey's sister Marnie is one of dozens of relatives, family members, and friends of slain and mutilated prostitutes allegedly victimized by Robert "Willie" Pickton. Rick is attending Pickton's macabre trial. "I didn't hear too much," he said outside the packed courtroom. "I left as soon as it got under my skin. I can't handle that stuff."


That 'stuff' ias certainly hard to handle. The accused is a 57-year old pig farmer who prosecutors say had one burning ambition: to salughter an even 50 victims. He came close...managing allegedly to claim 49 women before finally being arrested. My colleague Dan Springer reported what prosecutors believe was Willie's method of operation.


"The details of the murders here at the pig farm are unbelievably gruesome. Police found human body parts in freezers used to store unsold meat. They also discovered remains in a wood chipper...the victims' bodies turned into pig feed..."


With local pork products recalled for obvious and deeply upsetting reasons, the pig farmer's trial for the first six of his victims has created a firestorm of controversy in British Colombia. Why did it take so long for the authorities to recognize that a monster was devouring dozens of prostitutes from Vancouver's notorious red-light district. Vancouver Journalism Professor Mary Lynn Young.
"People want to know more, people should know more. It's about the integrity of the criminal justice system. Why did it take so long for these women to be found?"


Sandra Gagnon is the sister of one of the 49 women slain, and she's listening to the Crown's case against Pickton, "Well, I'm glad it's started now, but on the other hand I'll be so glad when it's all over. Because I want to be able to live a life free from all of this. Because it's the most extreme thing I've ever had to go through."


The trial brings to mind similar recent cases within the world's oldest profession: the Atlantic City Boardwalk murders of four hookers, including 23-year old Tracy Ann Roberts remembered by a neighborhood resident.
"She was the new kid on the block. She only came around for like three or four months..."


And the Ipswich Ripper case in England, which claimed five lives. This is Detective Chief Superintendent of the Suffolk England police Stephen Gill. "Everybody will have a view on working girls and prostitutes, but we mustn't forget these are young girls, they've got families and our thoughts go out to their families."


No girl wants to be a prostitute when she grows up. But bad choices, bad men and drug abuse conspire to funnel thousands of young, otherwise unskilled women into a profession that is as dangerous as it is demeaning. And unless or until they can be trained to come in out of the cold, they need protection. Back in the 70's in San Francisco, I attended the annual convention of Bay Area prostitutes. Jane Fonda was one of the speakers. She told me then, "...I would be in favor of doing away with the criminalization of prostitution."


Short of decriminalization, one of the convention platforms was the establishment of a hooker-help network, a kind of buddy system in which they would be checked on a regular basis. The goal: to prevent the kind of anonymous victimization that allows a freak like Vancouver's Willie Pickton to wipe out what amounts to a women a day for seven weeks with nobody, not even their moms noticing they had been slaughtered at a pig farm.


PS, Hi everybody. As regular viewers of 'Geraldo-At-Large' know, the program is going back to the Fox News Channel, where it will air live weekends at 8pm EST and PST. I hope you'll check it out. Until then, peace, and thanks for watching.

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