Montreal wasn”t always a nice place to visit. In fact, after World War I, the city was known as a sex tourist destination. That reputation was only further confirmed during the Prohibition era in the United States. Many Americans would take the short trip over the border to Montreal to take care of all their illicit needs.
Following the end of Prohibition, the government of Montreal decided to clean up their city, and crack down on practices like illegal gambling and prostitution. These vintage mug shots of some of the prostitutes arrested in Montreal show a very different side of life that many of us know nothing about. They are fascinating and heartbreaking all at once.
Anni Parker, arrested in 1941 in connection with an investigation into prostitution.
Blanche Martin. She was a servant arrested in May 1940 for owning a brothel.
Madeleine Gagnon, arrested in 1942 as part an investigation into prostitution.
Gisele Roy, alias Marie-Jeanne Lambert, arrested in 1941 for prostitution.
Fleurette Dubois, arrested in 1942 for owning a brothel at 1225 Bullion Street.
Lina Tony, arrested in December 1941 for owning and operating two brothels on the same road.
Mary Shepperd, arrested in connection with an investigation into prostitution.
Madam Liliane Brown, alias Ida Katz, was one of the most famous brothel owners in the city of Montreal at the time.
Delicato Bizante Lucie, one of the three most prominent brothel owners at the time.
Ruby Taylor, arrested in 1942 as part of an investigation into prostitution.
Anna Labelle, alias Mrs Emile Beauchamp, was said to be the most powerful brothel owner in all of Montreal during World War II.
(sources: The Daily Mail, Imgur)
The saddest thing about these photos might be that while there were frequent raids on brothels in the 1940s, the fines for prostitution were low. It was routine for these women to be released the same day as their arrest and to quickly resume business.