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In the late days of summer, clingy parents unload cars full of Ikea furniture and school supplies outside Pitman Hall. Meanwhile up the street, Toronto police sweep local prostitution under a temporary welcome mat.
For the neighbourhood just down Mutual Street, normal is the pimps, their street workers and the johns. Ryerson students are just another element of the landscape, a nuisance to some, and just another client to others. He says university-aged men mainly look for oral sex.
Wendy Babcock, 27, an indoor sex worker and a member of the Bad Date Coalition of Toronto, has a different take. At university, there are lots of girls around their own age but they want an older woman to show them the ropes.
An escort, who goes by the pseudonym Kenzie Taylor, agrees. She gets calls from younger guys who sound nervous or scared. Adult cinemas, strip clubs and sex shops offering student discounts surround campus. Another difference: on the low track, condoms are optional. But Babcock says prostitutes often take a lot of harassment from students — anything from chucking insults to explosives.
Last May 24 weekend, she says people who appeared to be from Ryerson threw fire crackers at women while they were working. Valerie Scott, the executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, says that in the past, students wearing Ryerson gear have thrown eggs at prostitutes. Most common though, is verbal abuse shouted from the safety of the other side of the street. While some students taunt, others negotiate. They observe more and ask more questions. One security guard says that he stumbled upon people being serviced in cars in the theatre school parking lot.