Military police are threatening to charge a sex worker who offers discounts to Canadian soldiers and senior leaders are warning troops to stay away from the Kingston-area woman.
But such efforts have backfired and sex worker Christina Lea Gilchrist tells this newspaper that she is being inundated with messages from military personnel interested in the services she provides.
The selling of sex in Canada is legal but military police allege Gilchrist broke the law with the “unlawful use of military uniforms,” according to police documents.
“Upon review of your website, it was noticed that you were not only advertising your services wearing a military uniform which is a controlled piece of clothing, but also displaying other parties engaging in sexual acts while also in uniform,” military police stated in a message sent to Gilchrist on Dec. 18.
But Gilchrist, who offers discounts to Canadian Forces personnel, pointed out she has repeatedly stated in her advertising that she is not nor has never been a member of any military. “I’ve never walked around in public pretending to be a soldier,” she explained. “People in movies dressed up as soldiers aren’t impersonating soldiers so why do (military police) think that I am?”
Military commanders at Canadian Forces Base Kingston also took the highly unusual step in mid-December of telling soldiers about the 32-year-old Gilchrist. Troops were warned to stay away from the sex worker.
The internal message noted that “the escort in question has photos posted on their website of (as of yet unidentified) clients in CAF uniforms in compromising positions. Aside from this being a potential offence, it could lead to other more serious consequences and engaging in sexual exploitation clearly goes against our CAF Code of Ethics and Values.”
But the internal message provided to all soldiers at the base has resulted in booming business for Gilchrist. Traffic to her website skyrocketed to 10,000 views over a three-day period and she is receiving requests for her services now from soldiers across the country.
“They gave me all this free publicity,” said Gilchrist. “After they made that memo, I literally had 10,000 hits on my website. They said to soldiers – ‘hey don’t look at this’ and all the soldiers said, ‘hey let’s go look at this.’ “
Gilchrist offers a 25 per cent discount for military personnel. They are required to show their military identification cards to receive the discount.
In a message to Gilchrist, military police said they found her business cards at CFB Kingston. Police claimed she has committed two offences under the Criminal Code; one is advertising sexual services contrary to section 286 of the Criminal Code and the other is the unlawful use of military uniforms contrary to section 419(a) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
“Further, as our investigation continues, if it is discovered that you received your uniform from another Canadian Forces member, then an additional charge is present,” police warned.
But Gilchrist points out that her advertising for sex is legal in Canada. “It is perfectly legal for me to advertise myself and for me to sell my own services as long as I am the only one profiting,” she added.
Prosecution involving individuals wearing military uniforms are rare in Canada and those that have gone forward have focused on individuals who were specifically masquerading as Canadian soldiers.
In 2015 a man from Cantley, Que., plead guilty to two counts of unlawfully wearing a military uniform and medals. He was spared jail and given a suspended sentence, one year probation and ordered to do 50 hours of community service.
Another impostor was arrested by military police in November 2011 but not before the Winnipeg man attended several Canadian Forces’ functions and was profiled in a local newspaper in full military uniform as a soldier headed to the Afghan war.
Although he was facing a maximum sentence of six months in jail, lawyers recommended he be spared a criminal record. The judge agreed and the young man was given a discharge because his motives were not deemed malicious.
Gilchrist’s website has multiple disclaimers emphasizing she has never been a member of any military.
Canadian military uniforms and medals are readily available from sellers online and surplus stores throughout the country. The stores purchase the uniforms from the federal government as part of surplus packages. In addition, there are commercially produced copies of Canadian military camouflage pants and jackets.
Gilchrist has been a sex worker for around 10 years. “I am a sex worker and I was a sex worker long before I became interested in the military,” she explained in an interview. “I developed a military fetish while living in Kingston and now I really like them.
“I prefer them to be in their uniforms because I am actively a military fetishist,” Gilchrist added. “I love them in their uniform.”
National Defence spokesperson Frédérica Dupuis said military police and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service are investigating after “explicit advertising” was found in military accommodations at CFB Kingston. In an email, she stated it would be inappropriate to provide more information at this time.
David Pugliese is an award-winning journalist covering Canadian Forces and military issues in Canada. To support his work, including exclusive content for subscribers only, sign up here: ottawacitizen.com/subscribe