Jailed sex workers of yore featured in new exhibit at the University of Alberta

“I found these fashionista madams and these really defiant women who were confronting the police cameras in this really spectacular way,” says Dr. Laurie Bertram, curator of the University of Alberta’s new exhibit, Pioneer Ladies of the Evening.

The exhibit features mug shots of women working in the sex trade between 1878 and 1916 who were arrested for various “crimes”, from shooting porn that was distributed to First World War soldiers to shooting an RCMP officer who tried to break into a brothel.

Bertram says the show is also meant to address the missing and murdered women in Canada and the dehumanization of sex workers today.