Montreal's F1 festivities carry the reputation of being a hotbed for sexual exploitation, but some say it's a myth that serves to fuel a yearly crackdown on sex workers.
Stella, a Montreal organization that advocates for workers, says evidence doesn't back up the notion that sexual exploitation ratchets up during the event.
Executive director Sandra Wesley says what the women encounter during the week is an increased police presence as well as repression that has a lasting effect.
However, a coalition of women's groups says its experience is that exploitation and recruitment do indeed increase during the tourist-heavy event.
The Concertation des luttes contre l'exploitation sexuelle says it has a two-pronged campaign this year, with part of the focus on getting young women to exercise judgment when confronted with recruitment pitches offering easy money.
Spokeswoman Eliane Legault says there is also a drive aimed at reminding the clientele their interest encourages recruitment.
A Montreal police spokesman says while there may not be scientific data to back up the notion the event sees a spike in sex tourism, nearly two dozen people were arrested last year, including many for seeking services from a minor.