Anti-Prostitution Operation – 15 street-level prostitutes and customers arrested in Logan Circle/Shaw (PSA 307)

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From MPD:

“On today’s date, during the very early morning hours, members of your 3-D Vice Unit conducted an street-level undercover “Anti-Prostitution Operation” within PSA307.

The operation focused on street level prostitution and targeted both street-level prostitutes and the customers of said illicit activity.

A total of 15 adult men and women were arrested and charged with “Solicitation of Prostitution.”

44 Comment

  • Hopefully someday the prohibition of this consensual commercial activity will seem as silly as marijuana prohibition, and also be on its way out. Legalize, regulate, tax, and endure the personal and health safety of sex workers.

  • Yea! Throw those sex workers in jail! This has proven highly successful in the past, and not at all discriminatory or damaging to women. Great use of resources, MPD.

    • “targeted both street-level prostitutes and the customers of said illicit activity.” Not sure how this is discriminatory. What about those poor discriminated and damaged Johns? Why do people on this blog always find a way to make a victim out of the person committing an illegal act? I do agree with Peter up above though, just regulate it like Amsterdam. They seemed to have a pretty good system going that made it safer for everyone.

      • Because people who commit minor “illegal” acts in the USA are treated in a grossly unfair way: being locked up in a cage for years and years and years. In Europe, most non-violent crimes are dealt with by probation and/or house arrest.

        That said, yes, legalize and regulate. But America operates by morality — not reasonable justice — just like Iran.

      • Is the fact that they are actively pursuing street level prostitutes and Johns not clearly discriminatory, considering the number of big dollar, by-appointment calls that go uninvestigated? Please. All vice operations are inherently racist and classist. Deal.

        • Presumably it’s a lot easier to nab people for soliciting out in the open than it is to get the ones who operate online, behind closed doors, etc.

      • I’d be curious to know how old the prostitutes were because it’s my understanding that most of them are underage. So, yes, I think it’s OK to go after the johns who are more than likely adults and try to find help for those prostitutes who are not.

        • Not to mention sex trafficking. The people advocating for legalized prostitution are either misogynists or naive about what prostitution does to both the prostitutes and the “clients.” It is dehumanizing and reduces people to objects rather than individuals with inherent dignity. No parent raises a child hoping she or he will become a prostitute and turn his/her body into a crude piece of commodity for sale. Is it any wonder the people selling themselves have oftentimes been longtime victims of abuse from childhood on? People need help, not support for continuing to abuse themselves.

          • Not a misogynist or naive. Work in the field. Believe all people should be treated with dignity and self-determination and their health and safety and freedom from police harassment should be rights – that is, regardless of whether you, their parents, or nikolas Kristof think they need rescuing. If you wanna help- start where people are equals not projects or objects

          • Not clear if they’re talking about the people who were arrested (who probably aren’t underaged or trafficked) or about sex workers, in general (the characterization is still wrong). Trying to turn sex work into a bunch of stereotypes that are dealt with in a patronizing way misses the point, but that seems to be how people of various political persuasions do it. It’s a lot more complicated than that and calling people misogynists may make you feel good, but doesn’t capture what goes on. I suspect that the pearl clutchers here are the naive and ultimately the most bigoted in their paternalism and naiveity.

        • No- that’s your TV movies talking. But let’s say some were underage… You would have seen this reported as a human trafficking rescue operation…Good use of resources would be to create jobs, social safety net and alternatives for those who want them, and health and safety and labor protections for those who don’t. Not sure when vice raids and policing, jail, etc have made the intended impact on society. I bet a few cops would agree.

  • Didn’t think this still happened in this area.

    • It’s mostly a late night/early morning thing. The neighborhood association and one of the churches have really been pushing this from time to time. The really open stuff tends to be on Mass Avenue; otherwise, women often take their clients to various alley spaces for sex.

      Sex work is very difficult to push out of an area–my former, very gentrified neighborhood in Chicago has been trying to do it for decades–in fact the last time I was there (a couple years ago), there was a big push from the community to round up working folks (that area, in Lakeview, had had males, females and trans sex workers).

    • When I lived in that area there was a big push to keep the Washington Post from ever printing the words “prostitute” and “Logan Circle” in the same story, the thinking being that media coverage wasn’t helpful, it did more to tell potential johns where to look.

      From your comment it sounds like the campaign has been successful. From this story it sounds like it’s no longer going on.

      • You have to understand that the Donnie Graham/Katharine Weymouth version of the Post always has been willing to stay away from powerful but inflammatory interests (they ignored DC govt for years until Barry’s final big fall) or attach themselves to “respectable” thuggish ones (Ken Starr, the Iraq war cheerleaders, opponents of Obamacare). Plus the paper’s local coverage has long sucked. I suspect Donnie Graham’s takeaway from his brief tour as a DC cop was that “somethings are better left undiscussed”. Unfortunately, a newspaper isn’t.

  • Ridiculous. Call 911 in this city and takes an hour for them to show up, but somehow they have time for this. We have a big problem with actual crimes with actual victims, and the city wastes police resources on bs like this.

  • Cause you know, the majority of car break-ins and other street crime in this area is from “johns”, in need of quick cash, to pay for a prostitute.

  • I’d just like to point out that people have complained about prostitution in comments on this site before. And as long as it is illegal, there will be officers who are in Vice units who will stop it. Street officers weren’t taken off their regular duties for this, so it wouldn’t have affected 911 call response, fyi.

    • Right. The city is dedicating police officers in specific units dedicated to going after victimless crimes when there are large portions of the city where people do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods and people are victimized by break-ins, assaults, robberies, you name it.

      I just wrote my councilmember asking that they take police off of these Vice units and put them on street patrol where they can actually help people suffering from this city’s crime problem. I would encourage anyone who thinks is a tremendous waste of resources to do the same.

  • If only the prostitutes had dirtbikes, MPD would be powerless to stop them!

    • You win the internet today… Or at least the PoPville comments section.

    • can’t believe you said that! i was think exact same thing while reading through the comments.
      methinks MJ arrests are down so this could be a way for the cops to make up for lost overtime pay.

  • If they’d stop leaving their used condoms and needles on my sidewalk and didn’t do it where I walk with my kids, fine. Until then… calling the police.

  • Um, yeah, this sounds like the informed opinion of someone who deals with this regularly. As someone who routinely clean up sex work flotsam and gets to rock a screaming baby back to sleep after loud inane discussions at 3 AM, louder, occasionally threatening arguments at 4 AM, and desperately loud calls at randomly passing vehicles from 5-8AM. I see a pretty solid public nuisance rationale in policing street level prostitutes and wish MPD would do so consistently.

    I’m all for regulating the practice, but until then I’m over the freshman dorm debate and am fine with prioritizing enforcement on the people who cause the most hardship to others while breaking a law over those who do so more discreetly.

    Aside from incisive comments from Charles in Charge, it almost seems like this comments section is a place for people to confidently assert their convictions without thinking much about all the people affected.

    • What part of town do you live in? Is it really all that frequent? I’m a 20+ year DC resident and I just don’t see street prostitution like I used to. Not even close.

  • I’d just point out that prostitution is a nuisance and a public health issue . . . also, I really don’t wanna see the pros turning tricks in the alley behind my house. Nasty.

  • Sounds like I left the neighborhood in the nick of time.

  • I must be very unobservant, because I’ve lived in the neighborhood for two years and never noticed prostitutes, johns, or their litter (condoms, etc.). I wonder why I don’t notice them on Mass. Ave. Where do they congregate? (Seriously, I’m not looking to score one.)

    • It is a matter of time of day. If you are on 12th St between L and M at around 5 a.m. to 6 a.m., you will definitely see them (usually anywhere from 3 to 6 women in skimpy outfits and exaggerated platform shoes smiling and waving at passing cars – skimpy outfits even in the dead of winter). By 7 a.m. they are pretty much gone, and you won’t see them again until late at night. At least out on the street they seem pretty harmless to me – if there is littering going on, they are certainly not the only violators.

      • or any time. Was walking to work at 8am and one was stopping cars at the light at 12th and M soliciting. A number congregate around that medical facility home (not sure what it is). I also used to work at 12th and K and they were all around there.

  • Surprised…while we still deal with car & bike thefts I haven’t seen evidence of prostitution in years…but then again I don’t hang out late night / early morning either…

  • figby

    Sad that prostitution is reduced to a littering/noise problem for so many. Until men quit seeing the often trafficked (enslaved), addicted, hopeless women and girls involved prostitution for what they are — rather than the sexy, consensual fun-havers that paying men wish them to be — your curbside litter will continue to feature condoms and lube.

  • So grateful for the increased presence and efforts by MPD to clean up the area. Great job, MPD! Please continue conducting these operations and also to have an increased presence on 11th St NW since I think there were some complaints on here about El Sauce and the noise/activities there fairly recently.

  • They must be very, very discreet. I live just outside this area, walk through here routinely at all hours of the day and night and just haven’t seen the level of prostitution that this investigation points to. Maybe I’m more naive than I realize…

  • Did anyone else see a prostitute walking up and down 11th St NW this morning at 7:45 or so?

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