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Prostitutes Targeted by Law Enforcement

San Fernando Valley law enforcement cracks down on notorious prostitution hot spots.

Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 14:04

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there are 36 known prostitution operations in the San Fernando Valley. Law enforcement in the Valley, including the Burbank Police Department, has decided it is time put an end to one of society's oldest professions.

In recent months, arrests have been made at various "meeting places" in Burbank, including the Ramada Burbank Airport Hotel, the Extended Stay America, and the Quality Inn. According to Burbank's Sgt. Robert Quesada, more are to be expected.

"The Burbank Police takes this type of activity seriously," said Sgt. Quesada. "We will not allow this type of behavior to take place within the city and will continue our enforcement effort. The citizens of the city demand and expect us to take action."

While areas like Burbank and Glendale tend to attract working girls to the reputable higher paying clients or "johns," the "Sherman Way corridor"—the area along Sherman Way between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Reseda Boulevard—has gained infamy in the cyber world.

The Internet has played a huge part in the evolution of prostitution. A search of CraigsList.org finds over 700 daily postings in the Adult Services section, with many girls reposting to assure their business propositions stay at the top of the search. Typing in the word prostitution in Yelp.com displays areas and hotels known for working girls in any given neighborhood. And the online World Sex Guide documents worldwide sex tourism and prostitution with a specific travel report dedicated to "Streetwalkers in the San Fernando Valley."

"I find condoms in my yard from all the hookers on Sepulveda," said Valley College student Morgain McGovern. "The police told me it was a high traffic area."

Many argue that prostitution is a victimless crime and police efforts and taxpayers' dollars are better spent elsewhere. Thomas Tanana, attorney for famed madam Heidi Fleiss, commented in the Orange County Register in 1995 in regards to the efforts of law enforcement to stop prostitution.

"While people were getting murdered, mugged, and raped in other parts of Los Angeles, 20 to 30 members of the LA Metro Vice squad safely perched themselves high atop the spacious penthouse of a Beverly Hills hotel for weeks … chatting with young call girls about sex, and watching racy movies – all at taxpayers' expense," said Tanana.

Others say the victims are the women themselves. The prostitution industry is often associated with drugs, violence and even murder.

"Pimps can be horrible. They kidnap you, they beat you, they throw acid on you, put cigarettes out on your skin, don't feed you and get you hooked on drugs," said Nicole, a 30-year-old working girl known as "Candy." Candy has been working as a prostitute since being tricked into it by a boyfriend at age 15. She asked to have her last name withheld.

Law enforcement in the Valley is determined to put an end to prostitution.

"We want these people to know that if they're going to engage in this kind of conduct … we'll be out there targeting it," said Sgt. Quesada.

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