VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A convicted pimp in Vancouver has been sentenced to 14 years behind bars, minus time served.
Michael Bannon, 35, pleaded guilty last month to nearly two dozen charges in connection to an underage prostitution ring he ran out of hotel rooms and apartments.
“It’s definitely that the victims were really brave in revealing how they were vulnerable to him, how he used and exploited them,” says the organization’s Hilla Kerner. “And they made very, very impressive pleas in the victim statements, and it was profoundly important for the case and for the conviction.”
Nine victims testified against him in court — the youngest was 14-years-old.
“It’s definitely a serious achievement for the VPD and for the Crown to hold this man accountable,” Kerner says. “He committed serious crimes against young women and it’s useful and it’s an important message to men out there.”
She claims this case highlights how easy it can be for men to exploit young women. “Exploit vulnerable young women in particular. So it’s very, very troubling how easy it was for him to recruit girls and young women through social media.”
Kerner feels this is just one pimp taken off the streets, but adds there are more out there. “The VPD definitely showed [diligence] in the investigation of this man, but they so far did nothing about the hundreds of men who bought these young girls.”
She’s calling on police as well as the criminal justice department to “step up their game” and “start taking action” against these other men.
However, she does understand that it’s not about man power. “The problem that we have with the VPD is not about the means. At the moment there’s no political will.”
Kerner says women’s groups have tried several avenues — including getting in touch with local police — to try and stop prostitution rings around the region. “It’s a relief to see that the VPD and the Crown did [their diligence] to hold this particular man accountable, but there are many, man men like him and there are many, many men who buy women in prostitution.
“There is a demand and those kind of pimps are feeding off that demand and feeding off the vulnerability of young women and girls. We will not stop the exploitation of women and girls if we [don’t] hold the men who buy them accountable.”