Rise in Prostitutes near Blagden Alley in Shaw?

“Dear PoPville,

I live near Blagden Alley. Within the last couple of month’s I’ve seen prostitutes on several occasions hanging around seemingly looking for business. They just started construction a few doors down from us and now they’re around more frequently. This morning on my way to work there were 3 on the corner of 10th and N and a few interested construction workers walking by. I walked by a cop parked over by 12th and told him, and he drove off in their direction. Not sure what he can do if they’re not actually transacting, but hopefully will scare both parties into thinking twice before coming back to that corner. Is there anything else I could do in situations like this, especially if I didn’t happen to walk by a cop? I don’t know if 9-1-1 is an appropriate option as there is really nothing illegal going on with them standing around. Just not something we like to see in the mornings or at any time of the day, especially in our own neighborhoods. I’m wondering if other people have experienced similar situations and how they’ve handled them?”

72 Comment

  • Not sure it’s a rise as this area used to be flooded with prostitutes as recently as, I dunno, just a few years ago? Maybe it’s gone from like a 9 to a 2 and now it’s back up to a 3, but I think it’s way lower than it used to be.

    • Ya, I moved to the area about a year and a half ago from Dupont Circle. I will say that a few years back I remember seeing a lot of prostitutes near Logan Circle but I have been generally surprised by how little prostitution I’ve seen in the Shaw/Logan area since moving here. And then, literally a few months ago, I started seeing prostitutes all the time on my morning runs and work commute! I noticed it at first during the Africa Leaders Summit so I figured it was just convention related, but it has unfortunately kept up…

  • Aglets

    A friend had an event at the convention center not long ago and had to explain what a prostitute was to her 9 year old kid. I would imagine with the new hotel built primarily for conventioneers it’s healthy populatio is only going to rise. Pun slightly intended.

  • “Rise in Prostitutes” made me giggle. Maybe there is not a rise, just business is slowing down because it is cold and they are actually “looking” for johns. Pro’s been doing shows in that area for decades…

  • If you see them transacting with the construction workers then go to the site and tell the foreman. That should (if he is any good – and with such large projects I think they would be good) he will put an end to it pretty quickly.

  • they’ve always been around there. Used condoms and prostis are some of the last ungentrified parts of the neighborhood. I only called the cops once because it was 8am and a woman was stopping traffic at 12th and M (literally – stopping cars and soliciting) with her….girl bits…hanging out.

    • I’ve also seen the girl bits hanging out more than once in this area. With little, if any attempts to cover them up. And I’m not just talking about short skirts, either. I’m talking about a top with no bottom.

      Also in Blagden Alley, just in the last few weeks I’ve seen a condom wrapper and spare single stiletto just sitting in the middle of the road on separate occasions. I can’t speak to how new this is for Blagden Alley, or whether the trend is more or less prostitution in the area, but it’s pretty clear that it’s happening.

      • in one alley near there (not sure which – my dog sort of drags me to wander) there’s just a mattress in the alley – I think at 12th between and M that backs up on that row of Frontiers houses.

        I just assume it’s their office.

        and yes – no pants. it’s super gross.

      • It’s been in Blagden Alley for a long time. When I boxed at the Downtown Boxing Gym, we’d workout in the alley and always see used, dirty condoms. Dave the Trainer (owner of DBG) said that the girls would occasionally stumble into the gym when he was doing late night workouts, asking to use the bathroom. He’d also sweep up the condoms, because the city didn’t clean up the alley for long periods of time. It’s better now that people (especially wealthy yuppies) have moved in over the last few years.
        Apparently, the situation was MUCH worse just a few years ago. It’s a bit surprising that the girls were still out at 8am, but that seems like a fluke. Had the OP shown up at 4am, they would have seen more activity. I’m sure someone who lives on the alley could provide a laundry of list bad behavior they’ve witnessed.

  • With the crackdown that went on at Logan Circle I’m not surprised at all.

  • Yea, this was one of the busiest prostitute strips in DC and you moved there. Coffee shops & small plates won’t keep the pros away.

  • Sure, I’ve seen an uptick of garbage in Blagden Alley recently, but evidence of prostitution (ie used condoms, the old mattress that was in the alley a year or so ago) has decreased considerably since La Columbe opened. I wonder how long the OP has lived in this area…

  • This is not, technically, “prostitution;” rather, it’s part of an installation piece being performed by an avant garde theater troupe currently in residence from Bushwick. The piece, titled “transcendent transliteration (Re: Zizek),” explores intersections of meaning created by modern, urban landscapes, the multiple meanings of “viewing” and “viewership,” and the concept of privilege within our internal and external landscapes. The poster has unwittingly participated in this “artscape” through engaging in the otherization of transformitive social norms, digital thought-communities and a typically “American” response towards normative gender discourses.

    Also, gentrification.

  • You know what they say … where there’s Colombe…

  • Wow, I live there and I haven’t noticed. Other than the used condoms of course, but that’s normal.

  • I passed 10th & N this morning and noticed 2 women who looked like prostitutes, but then I immediately felt bad for assuming these women were prostitutes based on their clothes (or lack thereof). Some pretty shocking and disorienting images for 8:00am, though! I wasn’t sure if I should have called the cops since they were just leaning on their car tryna look sexy.

    • msmaryedith

      I saw them this morning at 8am, too, standing in the middle of Blagden Alley right at 9th. It was a little shocking to see in broad daylight when everyone was headed to work!

  • austindc

    Well if the movie Frankenhooker taught me anything, it’s that most problems can be solved with science. And super-crack.

  • I respect the Hustle

  • I haven’t seen a prostitute on the street in DC in over 5 years. Maybe even longer, and I’ve live here long enough to remember what K Street and 14th Street and Logan Circle used to be like. I just assumed that this whole business is all done online these days.

  • I live near 11th and L and prostitution has been a big issue down one block from me, at 11th and K. The whole area sees a lot of prostitution. I sent an email to the district commander and he told me he wasn’t aware they were back specifically at 11th and K. For a couple of weeks there were more patrol cars in the area but that just means the prostitutes went somewhere else (and the commander said as much). I’ve seen half dressed women out in broad daylight some mornings near my apartment. Doesn’t seem to be a whole lot that can be done.

  • The last prostitute I talked to said that she used the money I gave her for computer classes. So I gave her another $500. I don’t need her to render services, I just want to help her succeed in life.

  • We lived at 11th and L for a number of years. Prostie central over there. We’d leave for runs in the morning and waive hello. A few years ago moved to 4th b/w M and N; little bit seedier of an area but way fewer prosties due to the lack of traffic.

    The most awkward time of year is when one of the black sororities has their convention at the convention center and you see grandmas walking to church (VERY early) with the prosties still out with them. Those are fun times…But yeah, 8 a.m. on a Thursday is REALLY pushing it.

  • I miss the male prostitutes that used to hang around 5th and K… if you made eye contact, you got a show. Those were the days.

  • Shaw/Convention Center/K St, etc. has some of the highest prostitution rates in the country. Lisa Ling did a segment on it with her series ‘Our America’ called “3AM Girls” and its about sex-trafficking in Washington, DC. I highly recommend it!

  • Who cares about prostitutes when you have kids shooting each other up the street at the Shaw Metro? Pick your battles people!

  • There have been a number of complaints in the last few months to the Logan Circle ANC regarding prostitution. MPD has responded with the 3D vice squad conducting a number of stings resulting in, if I recall, a couple dozen arrests of both johns and prostitutes. MPD has been frustrated at the level of complaints via the ANC (and blogs, twitter, etc) because the tiny number of calls to 911 make it seem like a lesser problem. MPD has indicated that they very much want citizens to call 911 when they see what they believe to be prostitution. The number of those calls is then used to justify additional stings and officers when PSA redeployments occur. Remember, 911 for all police services in the city regardless of whether it is an emergency.

  • tonyr

    I also take issue with “just started construction”. Ever since I moved to that block it’s been one big construction zone. One advantage of not being a morning person is that they must all go home before I venture out to start my day. Also, at least they’re using protection.

  • I have also seen them in barely any clothes on 11 and M at the same time that kids are going to school. There is a big condominium with outdoor retail on that corner that should be breaking ground fairly soon though, so hopefully the neighborhood will start to improve soon. I really hope it does! Is there anything we can do? Any new council members want to react to this?

    On a related note, did anyone see the street closed off last night on 13th between M and N? I was walking by and police told me it was due to a suspicious vehicle, and there were piles of white stuff on the ground.

  • Maybe this will be a radical suggestion, but I would argue that there’s no reason for you to take any action at all. Let the ladies do what they have to to make a living. I bet they enjoy being out there even less than you enjoy seeing them. As we all know, it’s the world’s oldest business and currently legal in over 70 countries.

    Just go about your day and let them do the same.

    • The problem here is that many of these women are under age and have been coerced into prostitution. This isn’t Amsterdam we’re talking about.

  • Just because something has been around a long time and is legal somewhere or another doesn’t make it a good idea. The MPD has said that previous raids resulted in discoveries of large amounts of cocaine, and there has been evidence of drug activity in the area. In addition, this is a residential neighborhood, and I don’t need some people trolling about and yelling on the street with their ladybits on display. Ick.

  • Whatever you do, don’t do 911. It’s not an emergency. Try one of the other numbers if you must – http://mpdc.dc.gov/service/hotlines-tip-lines-and-important-numbers

  • I have noticed them more frequently as well near 12th St, between M and Mass lately, in the morning between 6-7am when I run. But from what I’ve heard, like others have mentioned, it used to be far worse.

  • I’ve definitely noticed a spike in prostitution sightings around this area. Just yesterday, 3 were parading down the middle of 10th street (literally) between M and N, causing vehicles to maneuver around them. Even after the sting operation a while back, they continue to blatantly solicit themselves and its usually in the AM when I spot them loitering these parts. Nothing quite like starting your day passing a prostie on the way to work I tell ya. I tend to agree with the notion that construction areas draw this type of business (see link below).


  • sadly, many women/girls are forced into prostitution-it is not a pretty profession- it is not enjoyable- despite all of the movies you’ve seen. sex trafficking is rampant in DC and up and down the east coast. . It is a vicious cycle and these women/girls almost always lose- many just disappear-either murdered after they have been used up or sold into to a horrific situation in another country.Try to help them if you can

  • That One Guy

    Ahh…this helps explains the used condom I saw while walking towards La Colombe not too long ago.

  • I wouldn’t say it was the prostitute getting the rise….

  • This topic is perfect timing. I was in a cab to 11th and New York Ave Thursday (yesterday) morning and saw a woman clearly in her best lady of the night outfit (red “suede” thigh high boots and teeny tiny) skirt galavanting on 11th Street. Some guy yelled & waived at her across the street, she walked over, hugged and they went walking. My gut tells me they were not going to go grab a coffee at La Colombe. This was at 8am.

  • Serious question: who are the target customers here?

  • I’ll hazard a guess… um, men? A whole cross-section of that demographic, and likely a much larger segment of that population than you think.

    • I don’t doubt for a second that many more men seek out prostitutes than one would think. More specifically, I’m asking about these specific women in this specific place. I really have no idea who might seek out the kind of ladies I’ve seen working in this area – ladies in their mid 30s+, wearing no bottoms whatsoever and usually mega-high heels. I’m thinking that it’s a smaller subsection of the population than “men.”

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