We see it all day, everyday.
Up and down Western Avenue between Manchester and Jefferson, in Compton along Long Beach Boulevard, and of course all along the Figueroa corridor preceding USC—women, mainly Black women, selling sex.
There’s been an intensified focus on child sex trafficking in Los Angeles County thanks to several high profile arrests of pimps of teenaged girls and on Saturday, April 26, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will lead other elected officials and community members on a march and rally to call attention to underage prostitution.
I am 100 percent against underage prostitution. But I’m also concerned about the every growing number of women, mostly Black, who are over the age of 18 and out there walking as well. I’d like to see the focus be on all women who are prostituting and not just the minors. Because while 18 may be the magic number, there are a lot of 18 to 24 year olds working in Los Angeles as prostitutes.
Just like with the young men involved in the violence associated with gangs, these women were lost along the way as well. Somewhere, someone in their lives, as well as society in general, let them down. Whether it was the educational system, their parents, the foster care system, or even the juvenile system—the ball was dropped.
Women who have options in life, don’t choose to sell their bodies to strangers for sex. I just don’t see prostitution ranking high up on the list of what a young girl wants to be when they grow up. And for women who have taken this life on, it’s a hard one to get out of when you factor in the pimps, drugs, and just the overall numbness it takes to go though with it. In other words, you get used to it until the day comes when you’re too old to do it anymore, you get sick, or you die.
When it comes to deterring prostitution, a major player in the game are the motel operators up and down the corridors—who make their bread and butter off of prostitution. One thought that comes to mind is an ordinance that prohibits the renting of rooms by the hour. The only people who rent rooms by the hour are people up to no damn good anyway. Be it for sex or drugs, when you need to rent a room for an hour, you’re probably doing something you shouldn’t be doing anyway. However, I know that the motel owners pay taxes to the city and so it’s highly unlikely the powers that be will want to interfere with revenue for the city.
And after the city finishes its focus on the underage girls out there hooking, perhaps we can renew our interest in the men who pick them up and start a Dear John campaign targeting them. Almost all of those men are fathers and grandfathers and without them, there is no business to be made. I’m just saying.
Just my two cents on this issue…for now.
Below are the details on the march and rally.
March Against Child Sex Trafficking
Saturday, April 26
Western and MLK Blvd.
Join Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti, other elected officials, and the Empowerment Congress for a march and rally against sex trafficking.
The march will convene at 9:00 a.m. on Western Ave., at Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., and proceed south beginning promptly at 9:30 a.m. The march will end with a rally at St. Brigid Catholic Church, located at 5214 Western Ave., where resources will be available to learn more about ending the victimization of our community’s young people.