SNOW night

One safe night for sex-trade workers

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WINNIPEG - The gentle rustle of ball gowns has gone silent. The giggles are muted in the next room, over a floor thick with blankets and fresh, plump pillows.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/02/2010 (4564 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG – The gentle rustle of ball gowns has gone silent. The giggles are muted in the next room, over a floor thick with blankets and fresh, plump pillows.

For a baby-faced 18-year-old outside, it’s just another late-night slumber party chat about the man who choked her, forced her to strip and then raped her in his truck two years ago.

After 90 minutes, the neatly-trimmed man told her to smile and pulled out a Polaroid camera. Then he tossed two photos he took into a pile sitting on his backseat, she said.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Dianna Bussey of the Salvation Army (left) and Tammy Reimer of Sage House are the organizers of SNOW night, a "Safe Night Off Winnipeg" streets for women and transgendered sex-trade workers. The event offers food, a safe place to sleep, games, crafts, facials, manicures, pedicures, hairstyling, glamour photos, movies, gift bags, door prizes and resources.

She was one of the youngest of about 90 women and transgendered men who attended the Safe Night Off Winnipeg streets (SNOW) sleepover Thursday. SNOW Night is in its third year, a 14-hour pinnacle of contradictions which takes women who literally are thrown into the gutters and lavishes them with donated manicures, massages and dusky glamour shots.

But can the pampering make a difference for this teenager? Advocates say yes, if even for one night of respite each year.

“It’s one night where they are safe,” said Dianna Bussey, the Salvation Army’s prostitution diversion program co-ordinator. “(They’re) being shown people care for them.”

For the full story, see today’s newspaper or our fpNews electronic edition.

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