Madam Anna Labelle, 1940s described as the most powerful madam in Montreal during World War II,
Anna Labelle, aka Emile Beauchamp, was one of the
most powerful madams in Montreal. Dressed in her finest threads, the madam smiled for the police while getting
her mugshot taken — policemen who were more often
than not her clients.
Prostitutes of Montreal
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. 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.