West Mesa Murders Case Changes Behavior Of Police, Prostitutes

Feb 8, 2013

It's been 4 years since the remains of 11 women were found buried on Albuquerque's West Mesa.  Most were known prostitutes and no killer has been found.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque police chief Ray Schultz says the West Mesa murders investigation is still active and he is optimistic that one day the case will be solved. Schultz says the department approaches working with sex workers differently now.  

Advocates of safe sex work say prostitutes are also changing the way they work in order to stay safe, but they are still fearful that they may become victims of the same serial killer who buried the West Mesa victims in shallow graves.

Christine Barber is with Safe Sex Work, an organization that works with sex workers.  She says prostitutes now try to approach the cars of people seeking their services from the driver's side door to see if they have weapons. They try to stay near Central Ave. so that they can run for help if they are attacked. And they take more time to assess the mental state of people who approach them before agreeing to go with them.

Barber says Safe Sex Work is putting together a check in system with prostitutes so that if someone goes missing, the authorities can be alerted immediately.