Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez said Friday she wants city officials to come up with better methods for curbing prostitution, beyond arresting sex workers who end up returning to the streets after a brief stint in jail.
Martinez said there is a "long history" of police and community members working together to tackle prostitution, but she is "exasperated by the reality that despite these best efforts over the years, it just isn't working."
"It's time for us to look at additional approaches and for additional legal tools in attacking this problem, targeting the sickening demand for prostitutes in the first place," she said.
A council motion introduced by Martinez asks the police department and the city attorney to "report on strategies used to mitigate prostitution."
She also asked officials to identify state and local laws that can be strengthened and improve the level of collaboration among city, community and social service groups.
Community groups in Martinez's district have called on the councilwoman to tackle a perceived uptick in prostitution in Van Nuys along Sepulveda Boulevard and in Sun Valley along San Fernando Road and Lankersheim Boulevard.
Martinez is hoping to come up with a strategy that includes a combination of methods, such as going after those who exploit the prostitutes and engage in human trafficking, an aide in her office said.
Pimps have also adopted new tactics that include shuffling prostitutes through Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Seattle and other areas in northern United States to make it harder for police to recognize the sex workers.
Martinez's motion has been sent to the City Council's Public Safety Committee.
Martinez Chief of Staff Jim Dantona said the issue is ongoing and must be addressed "pretty quickly."
They hope to get a discussion going after the councilwoman has met with the police department's Valley vice squad.--City News Service