Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Why Street Prostitution Is Skyrocketing in California

The Schellenbergerites, the Voice of the Gentrifiers, fuel another moral panic.

“Nine to 21 times a day with different guys? The body is not made for that.”

By Abigail Shrirer

The following is excerpted from “Predator’s Paradise” at City Journal.

Abigail Shrier is the best-selling author of Irreversible Damage. You can find her work at The Truth Fairy.

Earlier this month in South Los Angeles, I watched women stand three astride in the middle of the street in pasties and G-string bikinis under fishnet dresses. Less than a block away, their pimps kept each other company on a sidewalk corner, in hoodies and loose jeans, watching their quarry, awaiting the payout. They didn’t hold the women on actual leashes, but they might as well.

It’s fashionable on the Left to defend prostitution as simply one more way for consenting adults to engage in harmless fun: “Sex work is work,” they say. But the reality of the prostitution burgeoning on our streets is that it has more in common with slavery than with any legitimate job.

“The horror stories I could tell you about [prostitutes] being beaten and being choked and being burned and being gang raped,” said Vanessa Russell of Love Never Fails, an anti-trafficking nonprofit based near Oakland. The result, she explained, was “PTSD”  and “psychotic breaks.”

I recently went on a ride-along with Erin Wilson, who volunteers for the anti-trafficking organization Journey Out, and her mother, Stephany Powell, at Figueroa, one of California’s busiest centers of prostitution. For decades, Wilson and Powell have worked to combat human trafficking in Los Angeles and to help women and child victims escape.


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