June 1, 1996

Tom Godfrey

Cops target street pimps:
Prey on runaways

A Metro Police juvenile task force is zeroing in on pimps preying on naive runaways at the Eaton Centre and Yonge St., as recruitment activity picks up in the warm weather.

"The recruiting usually picks up in the summer," said Const. Kevin Caddell, of 52 Division's juvenile task force. "You'll find them (pimps) anywhere kids gather."

Caddell said undercover officers are working to curb the problem at the busy Eaton Centre and on Yonge St., from Queen St., north to Bloor.

Officers said the runaways being drugged and turned into hookers by pimps is a big concern at the bus terminal and Union Station, which have hired private security firms to drive recruiters away.

Councillor Brian Ashton, of the Metro task force on street prostitution, has called for a crackdown on pimps recruiting runaways as they get off the bus at the terminal.

He wants mugshots of convicted pimps to be posted at both sites.

The TTC, which owns the terminal, said seven Toronto cabbies have been banned from the terminal -- some for recruiting runaways to work as hookers.

As well, about 200 pimps and other undesirables have been banned from the terminal since January.

Caroll Ruddell-Foster, of the Metro Licensing Commission, said her agency will investigate the moonlighting cabbies, and it could lead to their licenses being suspended or revoked if enough evidence is found.

"This is dreadful and we will move quickly on this," Ruddell-Foster said. Ashton said he'll ask the commission to send Toronto taxi fleet owners a warning to alert their drivers of the problem.

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Created: November 13, 1996
Last modified: November 18, 1996

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