Police Conduct Major Prostitution Sting

Many Bay Area agencies have made fighting sex trafficking a top priority in recent years. But the Oakland Police Department’s sexual misconduct scandal involving several officers and an underage sex worker has raised concerns over law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce trafficking. In the wake of this scandal at the Oakland Police Department, we’ll take a look at the state of sex trafficking in the Bay Area and talk with some local experts about the latest efforts to combat it.

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Guests:
Nancy O'Malley, district attorney, Alameda County
Kate Walker Brown, attorney, National Center for Youth Law
Adela Rodart, assistant program director, Westcoast Children's Clinic
La Toya Gix, human trafficking survivor; advocate, Alameda County's District Attorney office

  • EIDALM

    Prostitution is not a victimless crime ,the only victims are the prostitutes themselves ,they often suffer from violent customers as well as bimbs,clients may have the choice whether to engage with prostitutes or not ,but prostitutes don’t have any choice due to poverty and other means of earning money or making living in ,any other way ,the only way to solve the prostitution problem is to decriminalize and offer safe environment and health care , offer them test for all sexually transmitted disease and even license them ,that will give the protection they need as well as their clients.

  • EIDALM

    Prostitution is not a victimless crime ,the only victims are the prostitutes themselves ,they often suffer from violent customers as well as pimps ,clients may have the choice whether to engage with prostitutes or not ,but prostitutes don’t have any choice due to poverty and the lack other means of earning money or making living in ,any other way ,the only way to solve the prostitution problem is to decriminalize and offer safe environment and health care , offer them test for all sexually transmitted disease and even license them ,that will give the protection they need as well as their clients.

  • EIDALM

    Any one he exploit children for prostitution whether they are customers or pimps should face an extreme punishment ,at least very long prison term.,

  • EIDALM

    Any one whe exploit children for prostitution whether they are customers or pimps should face an extreme punishment ,at least very long prison term.,

  • EIDALM

    Any one he exploit children for prostitution whether they are customers or pimps should face an extreme punishment ,at least very long prison term.,

  • EIDALM

    Real man do not pay for sex ,having sex with a child is totally immoral .inhumane ,and an extremely criminal.

  • marte48

    Unless there are other options for making a living for both the trafficked and the trafficker, this industry will continue. Sending people to school with no food or shelter is not an answer.

  • Another Mike

    Exchanging sex for money is not limited to streetwalkers or internet ads. There are many grown women operating in a shadowy area, where as part of bestowing sexual favors, they ask for cash “for the PG&E bill.” I know former couchsurfers who have found a guy who will supply them with food, shelter, and clothing in exchange for sharing their beds.

  • geraldfnord

    We should prosecute the pimps and buyers associated with child prostitution as the rapists they are.

    We should prosecute pimps of any prostitute because the profession is built on the threat of violence.

    But I can’t tell an actual adult that he or she can’t exchange sex for money, much as I can’t tell an adult not to smoke tobacco or do heroin or practise religion, all of which are bad for them [sic]. I can demand that they practise under conditions of relative safety for themselves and for that of the sexual partners of their customers, but the existence of forced prostitution does not prove the nonexistence of voluntarily-accepted prostitution.

    Voluntary?:
    It is wrong that we don’t have enough of a technically and socially advanced society that anyone would choose to be a prostitute rather than starve…or be a coal-miner, or do any other job with strong potential to damage the body or spirit—but until we’re all rich without the need for working, no job will be truly voluntary. Criminalising and humiliating people who actually choose to do any job that could be made relatively safe makes no sense to me.

  • iamcuriousblue

    I’m sorry, but this program, like so many Forum episodes on this issue, comes across as simply so much “End Demand” propaganda. One can understand why a District Attorney, law enforcement, and some old-school feminists think that a punitive approach is the best way to go, but this is not the approach favored by the majority of sex workers who have spoken out on prostitution policy. Sex worker activists at all levels (both “high end” and street based) have called for decriminalization (and not the arrest-the-buyer so-called “decriminalization”) and for law enforcement to focus its efforts on actual force, fraud, and coercion (especially of minors), not the coercive social engineering of the “End Demand” approach.

    It is important to note that the so-called “Nordic model” approach is not actual decriminalization, even of the sex seller, and it has been demonstrated that in countries (like Sweden and Norway) that take this approach, sex workers remain subject to detention and search as witnesses, as well as policies where they are kicked out of their homes when landlords are threatened with arrest for “living off avails”. (A Norwegian police action toward this goal was even called “Operation Homeless”.) After several years of studying the issue closely, no less an organization than Amnesty International has concluded that full decriminalization (and not Nordic-model asymmetric criminalization) is far and away the first step toward a human rights and harm reduction-based approach to sex work.

    It’s here that the response during the interview that said that we should be looking at poverty and other social causes of prostitution is correct, but used misleadingly. Indeed we should be looking at this and acting on it, but how exactly does arresting buyers in any way address the root causes of desperation-induced prostitution? That’s every bit as simplistic as the “legalization will in itself solve all problems” argument it’s supposed to rebut. Dealing with root causes should be carried out as good in and of itself, but root causes are not best addressed by a coercive law-enforcement-based approach.

    I will also note that the Oakland PD scandal, which involved organized coercion of minors consistent with the label “severe sex trafficking”, was the action of *police officers* in an “End Demand” city. The scandal says a lot about that approach and how it gives power to bad cops, and not to sex workers or victims. I would also love to ask the Alameda County DA and the rest of the “End Demand” advocates why we’re not seeing these cops faces up on a billboard, which they seem to have no problem doing with civilian johns who have purchased sex consensually. As usual, the DA’s Office and law enforcement stand by their own.

    There are many parallels with the failed “War on Drugs” policy here, and in that case, our society is finally waking up to the fact that this approach has not been working, and has indeed been a driver of other social problems like mass incarceration. It’s about time to realize the punitive approach to the sex trade is every bit as flawed.

    • Another Mike

      Actually, porn is perhaps the easiest way to quell demand for sex. Another is to teach men how to be attractive to women, so that they don’t have to resort to professionals.

      • iamcuriousblue

        I think it’s pretty unrealistic to think that demand for sex workers could be “quelled” like that, and I don’t think a professional is someone who’s necessarily “resorted” to. People buy sex for all sorts of reasons, but quite notably, as long as there’s an informal marketplace in sexual attractiveness, as long as people, men especially, have a desire for younger or “out of your league” partners (and I don’t see any of that going away soon), the fact that some will monetize that is inevitable. It’s simply a natural market. I see some pundits whine about “the commodification of sex”, but that’s actually already a social reality, even where no money is changing hands.

        Other reasons people buy sex – desire for anonymous/no strings attached sex, sexual acts you might want to try, a type of partner you might not meet in your usual social circles. And, yes, with the internet and everything, it’s easier than ever to have casual hookups (if you’re not too picky), but for many, simply paying for it is the least complicated way to go about it.

        • Another Mike

          What I am saying is that people who have sexual outlets are less likely to seek out professionals. And many men — especially techies where I live — find women an insoluble puzzle. They patronize professionals and semiprofessionals with a sigh of relief.
          The women you mention who satisfy what I would call a gourmet need are not what I’m talking about.

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