Thursday, May 4, 2000 11:10 AM

Halifax undercover police clamp down on prostitution

HALIFAX, N.S. — Halifax police have laid 20 charges in connection with a child pornography and prostitution operation in the city. Halifax's vice-squad says the charges were laid as a result of a month-long undercover investigation.

"Most of the men are married; they have baby seats in the back of their cars..."
— Undercover cop

Police have taken a special interest in laying charges against men involved in trying to buy sex from prostitutes, mostly because in one month police received nearly 150 complaints about suspicious Johns.

Constable Eileen Mitchell-Haliday arrested seven men herself in April after hanging out on city street corners pretending to be a prostitute. She says it's far from a record number of arrests, but it has made for a busy month.

The vice cop is a 25-year veteran of the police force and is in her early 50s. She says she doesn't look like your typical prostitute, but it doesn't seem to be any obstacle to arresting a number of men who cruise the areas where prostitutes hang out.

"Men never cease to amaze me, from the point of view of their dealings," she said. "Most of the men are married, they have baby seats in the back of their cars and you have men driving the business vehicles that their employers own."

Mitchell-Haliday says even after years as a vice cop, it is still hard to get used to the idea that people will risk disease, public embarrassment, family break-up, and even job loss to have contact with a prostitute.

"It used to amaze me," Mitchell-Haliday said. "It doesn't amaze me any more after doing it for so many years."

Many of the men arrested for the first time, chose to avoid facing charges in court by admitting their guilt and volunteering to pay $500 to attend John School as an attempt at rehabilitation.

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Created: December 6, 2000
Last modified: January 15, 2001
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