Trans advocates call for protection of sex workers after Point St. Charles murder
Published Monday, September 18, 2017 7:26AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:29PM EDT
Transgender advocates say more needs to be done to protect trans sex workers who they say are at an increased risk of violence in the industry.
This, after police say a 26-year-old was stabbed in apartment on Mullins St. in Point St. Charles at 2 a.m. on Monday. A warrant is out for the arrest of a 24-year-old man in this case on second-degree murder charges.
The victim’s sister identified the victim as Sisi Thibert, a transgender sex worker.
“It’s obviously very emotionally hard,” said Florence Ashley, a law student and trans activist. “It hit really hard because it really sends a message that our lives don’t matter and we are disposable.”
Another resident of the building came across the badly injured woman lying in a hallway.
They called 9-1-1 and paramedics and police rushed to the scene. Medical crews took the victim to hospital where she died of her injuries around 8 a.m.
Crime scene investigators spent the rest of the night in the building trying to figure out how the victim was stabbed and slashed and a motive for the attack.
“(Violence) is something that’s even worse for trans sex workers, who have this stigmatization from being sex workers on top of being trans and often also people of colour, so really facing a lot of discrimination, and a lot of devaluation,” she added, saying "20 per cent of trans people have experiences physical assault and that's percentage gets much, much higher for trans women and trans sex workers."
Ashley said poverty is a big part of the problem.
“I think we need to look at factors such as poverty and cost, because, as we've seen with Sisi Thibert who was murdered, there's an indication that she engaged in sex work because she needed to pay for things like surgeries and stuff like that,” she said, adding that laws need to change so that sex workers aren't forced underground.
“Sex workers have to go farther from safe public areas and really put themselves at risk because the clients don't want to risk criminalization,” she said.
Warrant out for suspect
On Tuesday evening, police released an image and the name of a suspect: Jean Edens Lindor.
Police say the 24-year-old man is considered a suspect after developments in the case. A warrant has been issued for his arrest on second-degree murder charges.
Police released images captured on surveillance video on Monday of a black man with dark eyes and short, black hair in the apartment building at the same time as the murder. The man wore a black coat, a black sweater with the Nike logo in white letters and black pants.
Police believe this is their suspect, Lindor.
Anyone with information is urged to call 911, visit their local police station or reach out anonymously and confidentially to Info-Crime Montreal at 514-393-1133 or online.