Sex trafficking survivor details her experience
Fox News’ Christina Coleman reports that street gangs working for cartels contribute to the onslaught of human trafficking in San Diego.
As locals and elected officials in California sound the alarm about brazen prostitution in broad daylight following a controversial law taking effect, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office released a tepid response to the outcry.
“Prostitution is illegal, and sex trafficking is a serious and abhorrent crime — as evidenced by ongoing law enforcement operations that occur regularly across California, including the significant arrests and felony charges in San Diego just last week,” Newsom’s office told Fox News Digital.
“As the Governor stated when he signed the Safer Streets For All Act, the Administration is closely monitoring the implementation of this particular law, and is committed to responding to any unintended consequences,” the office added.
Fox News Digital reached out to the governor’s office this week regarding a business owner saying pimps have taken over a neighborhood in San Diego by leveraging the fear of retaliation in exchange for locals’ silence on the bevy of nearly-naked women walking the streets. The business owner and the local district attorney have been arguing that now is the time to repeal the law and that simply monitoring the situation is in the rearview mirror.
PIMPS CONTROL SAN DIEGO NEIGHBORHOODS AS RESIDENTS FEAR SPEAKING OUT AMID BRAZEN PROSTITUTION: BUSINESS OWNER
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, California, Thursday, March 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
“Prostitutes will walk inside of the properties to say, ‘What are you looking at?,’ ‘quit staring.’ And they elaborate a little bit about calling their pimps in order to hurt them or harm them or do something to ‘take care of them,'” the San Diego business owner who spoke to Fox News Digital under the condition of anonymity said of how prostitutes in San Diego near the National City border speak to business owners and employees.
“They are controlling the neighborhood,” the business owner added of the pimps.
The business owner is among a sea of Californians – including mayors, city council members and police chiefs – calling on the governor to repeal a law dubbed the Safer Streets for All Act. Critics say the law has promoted brazen prostitution and sex trafficking on city streets, such as in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
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Newsom signed Senate Bill 357 in July 2022, which repealed a previous law that banned loitering with the intent of engaging in prostitution. The bill was championed as one that would help protect transgender women from reportedly being targeted by police. The law took effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
The San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, a Republican, also wrote an op-ed late last month calling on the governor to repeal the law, saying it has caused human trafficking to spiral and is hurting young women and girls.
“Girls as young as 13 are being openly sold for sex on San Diego County streets. In fact, women of all ages are being blatantly trafficked for sex, meaning they are forced to walk the streets while their traffickers keep a watchful eye on their every move. One big reason is because California recently repealed the crime of loitering for prostitution with Senate Bill 357,” Stephan wrote in a piece published by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan rides in the 2021 Coronado Fourth of July Parade on July 3, 2021 in Coronado, California. (Photo by Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)
Stephan’s office told Fox News Digital on Tuesday that she remains “firm in believing the legislation should be repealed.”
When Newsom signed the law, he noted that his administration “must be cautious about its implementation” and would monitor any negative fallout.
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“To be clear, this bill does not legalize prostitution. It simply revokes provisions of the law that have led to disproportionate harassment of women and transgender adults. While I agree with the author’s intent, and I am signing this legislation, we must be cautious about its implementation. My administration will monitor crime and prosecution trends for any possible unintended consequences and will act to mitigate any such impacts,” he said at the time.
Prostitution issues in San Diego have increased since California’s controversial S.B. 357 began making headlines, according to a business owner. (Fox News Digital)
Stephan argued in her opinion piece that now is the time to repeal the law, calling it an “experiment” that “has failed.”
“It is time to repeal SB 357 and to also increase penalties for sex buyers who are lining the pockets of traffickers. Only by bolstering human trafficking laws can we protect the most vulnerable and stop allowing lives to be destroyed. The experiment of SB 357 has failed,” she wrote.
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The San Diego business owner added in a comment to Fox News Digital earlier this week that the law is an “utter failure” and called on the governor to listen to district attorneys and residents who are sounding the alarm on the issues.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in Sacramento, California, Jan. 10, 2023. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas, File)
The business owner and local reports show that women brazenly walk the streets in some California neighborhoods wearing only G-strings and fishnets in broad daylight while trying to attract johns. Children on their way to school are even forced to walk over used “byproducts” from the prostitutes and see them standing on the streets as they drive by in school buses, the business owner said.
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Stephan argued that buying sex is so easy in San Diego, that it is similar to a fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru line.
A woman standing on the streets in San Diego in high heels and a skimpy outfit. (Fox News Digital )
“What I saw was an open sex market with young women barely dressed and a line of sex buyers waiting in cars as casually as if they were at a drive through ordering a hamburger. The traffickers, sex sellers and buyers were totally undeterred and carried out their business with impunity,” she wrote in last month’s op-ed.
The business owner added that as the day winds down, streets can become gridlocked with johns in cars looking to hire a prostitute.
“At five o’clock at night and after, you try to pull out from a parking spot, and you can have 15 to 20 vehicles driving up and down the street where you cannot back out to go home. They almost have it where they will just point to an open parking spot, you pick up your prostitute, you go and have whatever services done and off you go,” the business owner said.
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Police in San Diego and other prostitution hotspots in the state have carried out extensive sting operations against some of the sex rings, including at a San Diego massage parlor this year that had long operated a sex-for-pay enterprise. Last month, more than 500 suspected pimps, johns, and sex traffickers were arrested during a statewide anti-human trafficking operation, while dozens of adults and 11 children were rescued from human trafficking.