June 3, 1996

Hookers: Small relief

TORONTO - For those who make their living selling themselves on the street, the arrest of a man wanted for killing three of their own is a relief, albeit a small one.

"He's off the streets, but it's only gonna be a little bit until the next one," said a short girl in an even shorter skirt in the downtown track near Church and Gerrard Sts.

Her worry, and one she said kept her off the streets for two nights, was the man wanted for the killings of three Metro prostitutes on the Victoria Day weekend.

The man identified last Wednesday as the prime suspect - Marcello Palma, 30 - was arrested without incident outside a Halifax hotel Saturday.

Looking only slightly older than the 14 years she claimed to be, the young hooker said the street's danger is always there. Seconds later, a car-load of teenaged louts stopped at her corner, taunting her to "put on a show."

Two other veteran girls who, since the killings have watched even more closely who their younger associate leaves the corner with, said Palma's arrest has made them more aware of who they and their comrades date.

"It's a relief, a screaming relief," said one who said she supports a family.

"It doesn't mean every idiot is off the streets," she added, pointing to the electronic alarm in her waist band.

Her friend, in tight white mini-skirt and three-inch stilettos chosen to show off the legs she says she's known for, said the killings have only served to bring the girls closer together.

"Some of the newer ones have come to ask" how to minimize the danger of getting into a car with sex-hunting strangers, she said.

More news about the murders...

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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