Author Topic: Susan Hawes former sex slave  (Read 3054 times)


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Susan Hawes former sex slave
« on: November 16, 2007, 12:04:19 AM »
Susan Hawes former sex slave

from kindheart

Halifax        Susan Hawes former sex slave   "Judges by day become johns by night"
'I'm not ashamed of what I did'
Ex-prostitute says johns are fighting their own demons as much as sex workers are
By BRIAN HAYES Court Reporter
She?s just Mom to many of the prostitutes working the Halifax and Dartmouth strolls. And Susan Hawes ? a 47-year-old former prostitute ? didn?t get the nickname by accident. "I know a lot of people and most of the girls too," says Hawes Hawes ? who looks to be barely five feet tall and 100 pounds ? calls herself a mentor but she?s not one by board of trade standards. Sure, she?s helped younger prostitutes find places to live. In a pinch, she?s also bought drugs for them and stolen stuff to help them out and to feed her own addiction to cocaine.
Another of her demons caught up with her again this week when she ended up in court on a minor theft charge. "I?m not ashamed of what I did. I can?t help being who I am," Hawes said.  Hawes provided The Chronicle Herald with a rare glimpse into an underworld that she insists is populated by everyday people. In the world Hawes describes, judges by day can become johns by night. So can businessmen, doctors and politicians. And she wants to protect the women from the perils of the business.
The hypocrisy of powerful men gets to her ? good citizens who hire sex workers. "There?s judges out there, there?s lawyers, there?s everybody. There?s doctors, there?s preachers, everybody, even politicians and women," she said. "It?s the power. They want control over things," she said. "It boils down to that they don?t love themselves no more and so they take it out on the weak," like prostitutes and drug addicts. 
For Hawes, protecting prostitutes means legalizing their business. It also means getting benefits and proper health care.
When she arrived at a north-end Halifax tavern for an interview, one of Hawes?s young friends ? a prostitute ? behaved like a well-mannered high school kid despite the piercings and the profession. Another sex worker interviewed for this story, who refers to Hawes as Mom, was straight from central casting in Hollywood. About 30 years old, she?s known on the Halifax streets as a real pro, a woman who says she enjoys her job and does it well. Hawes wants to help out both the kids and the veterans. She sees herself as a survivor who has saved a few people on the street from overdosing or gunshot wounds. "I don?t push people away. I?ll try to help them." 
Hawes also sees herself as an advocate. "The girls on the street need to understand they?re human beings," she added. "It?s just that some of the girls have so many demons that they are unable to deal with them." And prostitutes aren?t the only ones with demons, she said. The johns "have their demons too, just like everybody else, even those people who have been pampered all their lives." She learned about demons, and the trade, the hard way herself.
"In this day and age, (for) a woman out on the street, it?s a matter of survival" A crack addict since she was 15, Hawes said she entered the world of prostitution at the age of 34, at the end of a long-term abusive relationship. "I fell because of different reasons that happened in my life. I was about to get married and I snapped. "I had a hate on for men, " she said. She?s now reconciled with her 27-year-old son, who as a teenager had a hard time accepting her as an addict. "I had to own up to all my shit to my son before someone else did it. So I explained it to him. "Of course, he had a hate on for me and he used to throw rocks at the cars of johns."
Hawes now sounds like a woman who wouldn?t mind throwing a few stones herself.  She?s frustrated that police continually harass prostitutes while letting johns go free. (Interviewed for this story, the Halifax force said it was simply enforcing the law by arresting prostitutes who solicit clients.) Hawes also criticized a justice system that traps sex workers in a no-win situation.
She questioned how judges or police can tell crack addicts to refrain from taking drugs, suggesting it?s comparable to telling a drunk to abstain from alcohol. Courts also order prostitutes to stay away from areas where they ply their trade ? and live. Often, services for addicts and shelters are in the same out-of-bounds neighbourhoods. The result is that sex workers are often forced to live on the streets.
"Society has let them down, and they?ve lost their perspective of life." There are shelters, but she says prostitutes also need a safe place of their own where support and counselling are available 24 hours a day.  Before that happens, society?s view of prostitution has to change, she said. "We need change, and I don?t give a damn if they like or if they don?t."

Anti-prostitution law tougher on sex workers
When Section 213 of the Criminal Code came into effect in 1985, it was supposed to help curb prostitution by making it more difficult for people to buy sex. But 22 years later, the world?s oldest profession is still making headlines. The Criminal Code of Canada states that anyone caught communicating for the purposes of engaging in prostitution or of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute ? in a car, on a sidewalk, or on the street, in public or in public view ? is guilty of a summary offence. As a summary offence, however, the penalties generally include fines, probation and adult diversion programs, such as john school for clients or School 213 for prostitutes.
John school is only available to first-time offenders and once completed, the sworn court document containing the prostitution-related charge is withdrawn. Although many johns get a chance to wipe the slate clean, it?s often a different story for the prostitutes.  A December 2006 report on Canada?s prostitution laws by the standing committee on justice and human rights states that female prostitutes charged often end up with criminal records, while their male customers are often let off with little or no penalty. In 2003-04, the report states that 68% of women charged under Section 213 were found guilty, while 70% of charges against men were stayed or withdrawn.
In 2005, there were approximately 36,000 incidents of crime reported to police in Halifax Regional Municipality, according to a Nova Scotia Justice Department fact sheet. Of those, about 105 led to charges for street-level prostitution offences. In 2006, approximately 50 prostitution-related charges were laid. "And the reason for the drop in the number in 2006 is the (vice) unit was dealing with a number of other issues last year," said Const. Jeff Carr, a Halifax Regional Police spokesman. So far this year, police in HRM have laid about 75 prostitution charges. Separate figures for arrests for prostitutes versus johns were not available Friday. "We do make attempts to target both, but the number of prostitutes charged as opposed to johns would be higher because once again it involves a little more complicated operation to target (johns)," Const. Carr said. "We basically need an undercover officer when we?re targeting johns, something we don?t require when we?re targeting prostitutes."
The standing committee was also told that prostitutes also often face further charges and more serious punish-ment by failing to show up for court or returning to the stroll. "It usually wouldn?t end up with a serious sanction, a prison sentence, if somebody was convicted of simply communicating for the purposes," Ann Pollack of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association told the committee. "But after you add on all the breaches of area restriction and failure to attend court, you have all these crimes of process heaped on top of what was a simple offence to begin with, and now somebody is looking at jail time."
Toronto police detective Howard Page told the committee that "there?s a large double standard, in the sense that I don?t believe sex-trade workers should receive incarceration periods from the judicial system when we have johns buying their way out of any form of criminal record."