NEWS

Sex workers join registry in case they're murdered

01/18/2012 09:51 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

More than 100 sex trade workers in Saskatoon are now in a registry, to be used if police can't identify human remains in a homicide case.

The high-risk homicide registry is voluntary and was created with input from the Egadz Youth Centre in Saskatoon, which works with young people who are involved in the sex trade.

"This is the reality of the sex trade," Don Meikle, the director of outreach services with Egadz, told CBC News. "It's not the Pretty Woman. It's not somebody is going to find me and take care of me."

Participants in the registry fill out a questionnaire.

"It's a really kind of detailed map of their body," Meikle explained. The result is an inventory of tattoos, scars, broken bones — any information that could help solve a murder, or aid a family member to identify the body of a loved one.

It also asks questions about clothing, such as the type of undergarment the person usually wears.

Information could lead to killers

Meikle said such questions may even persuade a person to leave the streets, once they learn that some killers seek personal garments of their victims.

"Lots of guys like keeping trophies," Meikle explained. "So if they kill somebody and you have an individual that always wears undergarments and she's found without them, then you know chances are he's kept a trophy."

Meikle said the registry is mostly made up of aboriginal women between the ages of 13 and 30.

The information is sealed and kept in a lawyer's office.

The files are only opened when police find a body they are unable to identify.

In addition to questions, the registry includes fill-in-the-blanks diagrams, to illustrate locations on the body for tattoos, scars and such.

The files also ask who should be notified in case they are victims of a homicide.

The registry just recently reached over 100 files.

Meikle said it has already proven useful to identify a sex trade worker who died when the customer's car rolled and she was disfigured.

Sex trade workers can retrieve their information from the file and have it destroyed if they leave the street life.

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