A female police officer posing as a prostitute on Holt Boulevard during a major prostitution sting operation in 2004 in Pomona, California. David McNew/Getty Images
A female police officer posing as a prostitute on Holt Boulevard during a major prostitution sting operation in 2004 in Pomona, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts told members of the San Antonio neighborhood that he expected at least one of two anti-prostitution proposals being explored for the area to become a reality soon. Dozens of members of the International Boulevard community, often called the “Track” because of the prevalence of the sex trade there, marched between 17th and 23rd avenues in a show of unity against prostitution on Thursday night.

Batts said his department is looking into posting mug shots of men arrested on suspicion of prostitution on the Oakland police website, or using Department of Motor Vehicle records to send “Dear John” warning letters to owners of vehicles spotted loitering along the strip.

“We’re working through issues with the city attorney and looking into whether we can use DMV records that way,” he told the crowd as it gathered on 17th Avenue.

The event, called “Safe Streets, Safe Kids,” marked the third time since March that residents have gathered to oppose prostitution and pimping, particularly of minors. The nonprofit Oakland Community Organizations put together the rally with the East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) .

Andy Nelsen of  EBAYC has lived in the area for some 30 years and has a young daughter.

“You know its really hard to walk past this with your daughter everyday on the way to school,” said Nelson. Its really hard to explain that to your kids. And there’s a concern that we know the pimps are out here trying to find girls all the time.”

Nelson says his group conducted a survey of some 500 parents in the neighborhood asking them how raising children could be made easier. Stopping prostitution was a priority for most of the respondents.

“Before it wasn’t this bad,” Mili Bolanos said. “It’s really hard now.”

Bolanos said the sex trade seems to have gotten worse as the economy has weakened, but that the police department has done a good job responding to the community’s request for more surveillance of the area.

As for the community’s decision to come together, “It’s marvelous,” Batts said. “It’s exactly what I want.”

The residents held banners that said “Make our neighborhood safe” and “Honk for safe streets, safe kids.”

The group included young children, elderly residents and everyone in between. Some marchers shook rattles and blew horns, while others used bullhorns to ask onlookers to join the cause.

“We will not tolerate men coming here looking for girls and sex,” Bolanos said.

More on Sex Trafficking in Oakland:

Youth Radio won a Peabody Award for its coverage of sex trafficking in Oakland. Listen to that series here. You can also listen to a discussion of underage sex trafficking on Forum by clicking here.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


Oakland Community Marches Against Sex Trafficking 5 August,2011Amanda Stupi

  • Alex N Abraham

    IAm an Indian I live and work UAE Abudhabi I came Dubai in the year 1996 Here we can note women moving freely night groups offering sex Inspite of ISlamic law Dubai lifestyle is free and tourists from The World come here Life is so cheap

  • Really happy to know about ur Organisation and ur efforts Wishing all success

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