All kinds of businesses take advantage of the uptick in visitors brought on by The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
And every year during the Calgary Stampede, police notice an increase in people selling sex.
“If there’s going to be a large scale event that’s going to attract a number of people from outside of the city, there’s going to be an increase in activity, whether it’s Stampede, or a large concert or a large public event,” Det. Paul Rubner said.
While there are still a few areas where street level prostitution is a problem, Rubner says the majority of activity now happens online.
Police are still navigating relatively new prostitution laws: it’s still illegal to purchase sex, but when it comes to those soliciting, law enforcement is focused on protecting victims.
“When we have had a need to get information from various websites, depending on the situation — if we’re investigating the victimization of someone in particular, we’ve had great co-operation,” Det. Rubner said.
Police Chief Roger Chaffin helped kick off an anti-human trafficking campaign, #NotInMyCity, before the 10 day festival began.
“On the midway — our officers are aware, the security’s aware, we have a network of CCTV cameras, we watch for these things, but unfortunately this is not something that just happens at a venue, it happens all over the city during this time,” he said.
“As we attract all these people to the city, unfortunately these perpetrators will want to — sell people to — tourists in the city, and it’s hard. So, we just make sure we’re out there, we’re prowling both the internet and the streets.”
He said if the public has concerns, the best thing they can do is contact police.