Prostitutes routinely travel from place to place on set "tracks" that are well known to police but you might be surprised to hear Newfoundland and Labrador have become popular stops for Canada's call girls.
According to a CBC News investigation, high-priced escorts are travelling to Newfoundland from as far away as Vancouver, working not just in St. John's but also communities such as Deer Lake, Gander, Clarenville and Corner Brook.
It's not hard to guess why Newfoundland and Labrador now is a destination for sex trade workers. The province's economy, long dependent on fishing and other seasonal work, is flush with money from energy exploration and production and even facing labour shortages in some sectors.
A St. John's-area escort who identified herself as Iris, told CBC News the sex industry is flourishing.
"The local girls that have decided to take it up as a profession, the clientele — everything has boomed in the last 16 months," she said. "When I first started, I was in competition with maybe five other ladies. Now, I'm in competition with probably 30 or 40."
Iris said she charges a minimum of $300 an hour and despite a college education and a good family upbringing, did not chose the life out of desperation.
"I chose to do what I do for a living because it affords me a lifestyle that I prefer to have," she told CBC News.
She confirmed the boom in her business seemed due to the economy, including workers returning from highly-paid work in Alberta's oil sands industry.
The word spread quickly, said Iris, who pointed to a friend from Vancouver who made $28,000 after a three-week stint in St. John's.
"Girls are hearing about it," Iris said. "[My friend] went back, told a couple other girls, [and] within a month, there [were] two girls that she knew that came down. So it's word of mouth. Girls pass around, 'You go there and you're going to do very well.' "
Iris told CBC News she uses a local web site to advertise her services. The site's registered owner, Norm Lush, told CBC News that he is not in the prostitution business but started the site because local escorts were being harassed on other sites. He's also set up similar sites in other provinces.
The web-based escort services shouldn't be confused with St. John's traditional hooker strolls, which is flagged in tripadvisor.ca's advisory on travel safety in the province.
"If you make new friends on these streets expect there to be an accompanying price tag," it advises tourists.
Iris said she's just serving a need for companionship, and that many of her clients are well-off married men.
"Don't demonize it too much, because it could be your best friend lying next to one of us," she told CBC News.
But in its in-depth look at the sex trade in the province, CBC News noted other women aren't carefree like Iris. Many come from abusive backgrounds and grappled with substance abuse.
Angela Crockwell, who heads a group called Thrive that fights sexual exploitation and human trafficking, told CBC News she doesn't like sites such as the one Iris uses.
"It's really concerning and really pretty scary. When you think about 18 year olds who are posting on that. Again, from my experience the truth is that most people probably didn't wake up at 18 and make those choices," Crockwell said.
source: Yahoo! News Canada - Latest News & Headlines
Dictionary slang - Newfie Hooker Boots - A funny name for rubber boots due to the a*sociation of Newfoundland with wet weather.