Police arrested one pimp and 18 johns during a prostitution sting in Oakland Friday night, a police captain said today. The arrests were part of an eight-hour operation along Oakland’s International Boulevard, an area notoriously plagued by the sex trade, Capt. Edward Tracey said. He said the number was fairly standard for an operation of its size. “Overall I think it was a success,” he said. The enforcement started in the early afternoon and was concentrated at 17th Avenue, Tracey said. The intersection is the site of the National Lodge, a motel that has been sued by the city for allegedly being a nuisance business that fosters prostitution. Community members and city officials held a rally there last month to take a stand against the prostitution plaguing their streets.
Tracey said the Police Department held Friday’s sting near the motel in part because it’s a problem area and in part because the community has rallied behind the cause. “You have kids going out to play there, to throw a ball around, running across condoms and people having sex,” he said. “That’s unacceptable.” He said the community and police are fed up with the prostitution, and the department wants residents to know officials take the problem seriously.
Police execute staggered prostitution stings, Tracey said, and conduct intervention and education work in the meantime. “We’re not just going out there with blindfolds on and arresting everybody,” he said. “We also interact and talk with these young women and let them know this lifestyle is only going to get you seriously hurt or killed.” Police bring in advocacy groups and try to direct the sex workers to shelters, jobs and counseling, Tracey said.
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