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Valley Prostitution Crackdown to Target the Pimps and Johns

A new effort will also focus on helping prostitutes under 18 get out of the business.

A young prostitute is arrested in North Hollywood. Patch photo credit: Arin Mikailian
A young prostitute is arrested in North Hollywood. Patch photo credit: Arin Mikailian

Los Angeles officials announced plans today to target pimps and johns in the San Fernando Valley, while trying to help juvenile prostitutes who want out of the sex trade.

“We're standing here to declare that these streets no longer belong to the pimps and the johns, but that they belong to the families of the 6th Council District,” Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez said at a news conference in Van Nuys today.

“Families shouldn't have to see young girls solicited on their way to the grocery store or to have to step on condoms while they are strapping their children into their car seats.”

Cracking down on prostitution has been on Martinez's agenda since she was elected in July.

“For too long the women have been treated like criminals instead of tackling the problem head on,” Martinez said. “This is backwards.”

Martinez said her office was dedicating resources to add two patrol cars to prostitution details in Sun Valley and Van Nuys.

Police will start towing and impounding vehicles belonging to johns or pimps, she said.

“Our children will not be victimized by grown men and our neighborhoods will be safe,” Martinez said, adding that she would review the effort in six months.

City Attorney Mike Feuer said there is a need to go beyond arrests and convictions.

“We need to be addressing, not just the initial active arrest, but the underlying issues that led to the perpetration of the crime in the first place,” Feuer said.

Stephanie Powell, executive director of the Mary Magdalene Project, said the District Attorney's diversion program would help young women who want to get out of prostitution.

uveniles arrested on suspicion of prostitution who agree to enter the program -- dubbed First Step -- will be referred to therapy, substance abuse programs and services for victims of sexual assault, among other social services. If they successfully complete a yearlong program, they will have a chance to clear their prostitution arrest, according to the District Attorney's Office.

--City News Service

Hugh Blair February 25, 2014 at 07:45 AM
Every day across the country men and women are arrested for prostitution and related actions. Why are these people, both sex workers and their clients so vilified and harassed? Society's view of sex has changed over the years. It now accepts more public display and discussion about things sexual. With all the openness and heightened exposure of sex in the media and general public, the oldest element of sex, prostitution, still lives in the shadows. Both prostitutes and their customers are reviled and forced to operate in the margins of this otherwise open society. What does who one has sex with and wether or not the sex is paid for have to do with their qualification for public or private position? Rather than fall back on the tired bromides and sensationalism of the plastering it appears that society is beginning to take another look at sex work, sex workers and those who patronize them. Why is prostitution against the law? Where is the crime when two adults agree to have sex in exchange for money? This isn’t trafficking, which isn’t a sex crime but is a human rights abuse. Those forced into sex work should not be charged with prostitution but should be rescued from the traffickers. These laws allow too many dehumanize sex workers. If they aren't looked on as having the same rights as the rest of society then those who prey on women find easy targets in sex workers. Today sex workers and their customers are marginalized and viewed through a distorted lense. They are dehumanized and as a consequence it is too easy to take advantage of or abuse them. We need to recognize they are members of our society with the same wants and needs as everyone. Many if not most add to society in a positive manner, paying taxes, raising families adding to the economy etc. Legalizing will allow escorts the opportunity to contact police when they need to. Right now they can't because no matter why they call they are subject to arrest. Believe me escorts who are in the business for themselves are as against trafficking as you are. Legalization will allow escorts to be removed from the criminal element. Just like gambling, and alcohol and other so called vices, when legalized prostitution will be no longer a vehicle of the mob or pimps or gangs. Watch the documentary "American Courtesans", a movie where sex workers, their families and even customers have a chance to speak about their lives. It is powerful, fascinating and has been shown in film festivals all over the world including the ECU festival in Paris and Women's International festival in Miami and won awards for best editing and best documentary. The producer Kristen DiAngelo is also a sex worker/activist. Kristen DiAngelo is a voice for the rights of all sex workers and has launched The American Courtesans Project www.the-ac-project.com to bring light and humanity to the world of sex work. She is giving lectures at Rutgers and San Francisco State later in the year. 'American Courtesans' is available in over 100 million homes across the US and Canada -- including on some of the largest cable systems in the country and iTunes , Amazon, Google+ and Hulu. It is also available on DVD and BluRay on www.americancourtesans.com and ebay.
gene smith February 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM
gene smith 2-25-14 07:30 It would seem to me a far wiser move for those involved in putting this togetherto take their bows after the fact. Getting their snoot in the news ahead of the event seems like grandstanding to me and actually detrimental to the success of the drive. It appears the motive is somewhat clouded by the method used.
Eric Devezin February 25, 2014 at 08:27 PM
Washington says "it's important not to promote prostitution" and does not want any of its funding to be spent on treating prostitutes. Much of the spending is geared toward programs that advocate abstinence, rather then condom use, and cannot be used for abortions nor rehabilitate prostitutes.
Beth Jacobs February 26, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Do you know how many "prostituted people actually WANT, or CHOOSE to prostitute? I can provide 2 different studies that have the same results. One is in the US. I participated in this myself. Prostituted women were interviewed by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Rescue & Restore, Polaris Project, & a list of NGO's across the US. They wanted to see how many of these women were sex trafficking victims. I myself helped 120 women get interviewed. We sent the information to Washington DC & they decided if that person was a trafficking victim or not. Out of the 120 women 119 of them were found to be trafficking victims by the United States government and issued Human Trafficking numbers. So that is about 99% of prostituted women who are trafficking victims. The next study was done in the UK. This study had very similar results. "But Jim Wells MLA replied with figures from PSNI Det Supt Philip Marshall, who told a local conference in 2011 that “only one to two per cent of women involved in prostitution are there through choice”." So as you are talking about ALL of these Sex workers who CHOOSE to be in the life, you are only talking about 1% of the total population. I am a survivor who lived in this life for 6 years, went through a healing process, went to college, earned a bachelors in social work and then worked with other women like myself for 15 years in MN. I moved to AZ where I am starting an agency for survivors as well. I see that you said sex trafficking is NOT sexual abuse, that it is a human rights issue...Your EXACT quote: This isn’t trafficking, which isn’t a sex crime but is a human rights abuse. Those forced into sex work should not be charged with prostitution but should be rescued from the traffickers. It IS a human rights issue, and victims should NOT be arrested, BUT it is ALSO a sex crime. Many many prostituted people get raped continually..... I think you need to get your stats right. I have worked with approximately 2000 women throughout my career, and I have met 2 who liked it and said they would choose it no matter what. You are speaking for a tiny sample of people. Please let people know that. It is fair to say that MOST prostituted women are sex trafficking victims
Beth Jacobs February 26, 2014 at 03:56 PM
My comment above is to Hugh Blair

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