- I am 18
With that in mind, everyone is capable of making a mistake or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While they may be similar in some cases, in South Carolina, there is a clear separation between prostitution of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor child pornography. The three degrees of criminal charges surrounding child pornography in South Carolina have to do with the possession, trafficking, or creation of child pornography — pictures, videos, or some other depictions of a real, underage person engaging in sexual activity. Prostitution, on the other hand, involves facilitating, sponsoring, representing, or participating in sexual activity with an underage person in exchange for payment. While many of the same aspects can apply to both offenses material gain for a transaction, for example, and the fact that both involve underage subjectsthe differences between the two are clear. One notable difference is the severity of the criminal penalties for a conviction.
They came to Harbor and Beach Boulevard and found that business was good.
Debby is tall and blonde and hardened well beyond her 18 years. Some of the best of Orange County is represented here--Disneyland, the Anaheim Convention Center and the where hotels that surround them--but also some of the worst. He has been a cop for 16 years, 5 of them with the vice squad. I mean, man, I was a manager in a restaurant once! He scared me, really bad. Sometimes, when the circuit girls are out in force, it is not uncommon for this small office to be packed with 30 or 40 prostitutes being photographed and fingerprinted.
Scheer said pimps prefer Santa Ana and Garden Grove, as prostitute as parts of Beach Boulevard in Stanton, because they pick that when their women are arrested, they are likely to be released within a few hours because there is no room at the Orange County Jail. Lots of guys in business suits and nice cars.
They wanted to present a good face to the world. Debby is nervous, and when she kent questions her eyes rarely leave the floor. Scheer, 44, is a tall man with a shock of Irish-red hair and a gentle manner. It is covered with small green heroin tracks, dozens of them, the result of more than a decade of abuse. The same factors that have put other areas on the map--wealth, a steady influx of tourists and business travelers, a well-lighted thoroughfare busy at all hours--are here as well.
Just 3 weeks ago, police said, there were so many prostitutes at the corner of Westminster and Harbor that their presence created traffic jams as curious motorists slowed for a closer view of the spectacle of so many in one place. You know?
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And there is an added attraction to Orange County. If I got a little help, man, I could go straight. She is really staying at a local motel, and she produces a key from her right shoe to prove it. Sure, it can be scary.
Promoting prostitution of a minor
I pick my dates pretty good. Not too long ago it was just another congested commercial thoroughfare slicing through the heart of Orange County from Costa Mesa north to La Habra--a bit tacky but always vibrant, always busy.
A delicate gold chain with a single pearl is draped around her neck and a small black purse is swung over her shoulder. I had to jump out of the car while it was moving. She was simply hitching a ride down Harbor.
Kent police make 25 arrests so far this year in sex-trafficking operations
Like Debby, most of the circuit girls are young. I swear. The strips look the same after a while, wide avenues melting into an after-hours sea of neon dotted with motels, all-night coffee shops, adult bookstores and seedy bars. As she talks in a rapid-fire stream of jumbled thoughts and half-truths, she gestures wildly with her hands, alternately laughing and pleading and crying.
Perhaps, Scheer said, it was destined that Orange County would make the circuit. Drug deals on some parts of Harbor are rampant, cheap motels cater to transients and pimps, and in recent years the boulevard has become a regular and lucrative stop on the national circuit of professional prostitutes. The city of Santa Ana tried to go after prostitutes by declaring them a public nuisance and then barring them from the streets.
He has dealt with more prostitutes and drug addicts and fast-talking con men than he wants to remember, and he has been around long enough to remember a time when it was rare to see streetwalkers on Harbor. An FBI spokesman in Los Angeles said the investigation would focus on the groups of women and their pimps who approach their trade like a traveling salesman: one week they are in Portland, Ore.
The operation is basically going to be aimed at the pimps and not the prostitutes themselves, the spokesman said. You have people getting killed. I just need a little help, you know. She says she is a high school graduate and that one day, perhaps, there is college in her future. Now older and tired and increasingly unable to compete with the younger circuit girls, she says she has resorted to stealing to maintain her habit.
In it is a list of names and telephone s, some cash and a knife. Debby searches for the words to explain what brought her here, why she has chosen to risk so much for what clearly seems so degrading and dangerous a profession. Tonight she is working Harbor Boulevard, an Orange County hangout for prostitutes and pimps and the small-time punks who peddle their crack and heroin, and tomorrow maybe it will be Sunset Boulevard or San Diego or somewhere else. On a busy night, women like Debby--some of them children, really--can be found on the street corners of Harbor Boulevard flagging down cars and soliciting business.
They keep shooting the drug up their veins and going to bed with anyone who comes along until they die of an overdose or AIDS or end up in jail. And there is.
She has been working Harbor for about 3 months. And when the police leave they return, some of them so bold as to al passing motorists by raising their skirts or their blouses.
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A lot of them came down here. She voluntarily agreed to come here so Scheer and Brown can check the records to see if she has had any prior convictions for prostitution. Straighten up my life. There is a hardness in her voice, a tone that says she has been through this before, but she seems vulnerable too, and just a bit scared. William Scheer is cruising Harbor in an unmarked white Chrysler with his partner, Cpl. Kevin Brown, a muscular ex-Marine. If I get the money. I look for white guys usually, in business suits.
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But they are never gone for long. He wanted my money. Brown spots a rusty Ford with two people in the front seat behind a motel known as a hangout for prostitutes. The prostitution problem has become so serious that the FBI is creating a regional task force to target pimps in Orange County.
Debby is a prostitute. Oh, 15 years. You mean how long?
He went crazy, all this yelling and everything. Scuffed up my knees and legs real bad. There is a story about an aunt in Anaheim, but that proves to be a lie. A Superior Court judge rejected the plan.
All the girls on the street, she says, make sure their customers use condoms. Debby sits awkwardly in a metal chair at the Santa Ana police substation at the corner of Harbor and 1st Street.
All things considered
Julianne is 34 but could easily pass for She is wearing blue jeans, a dark sweater and dirty tennis shoes, and she is flying high from a recent injection of drugs. A few have been found to be as young as 12, but most are in their teens or early 20s. She is the only woman here this night. So what happened? The prostitutes returned in force. What does scare her are the occasional dates that turn violent and ugly. When a police car approaches, they fade out of the lights and into the shadows, some of them seeking the shelter of a hour coffee shop or restaurant.
Authorities say one of the most popular current circuits includes Tacoma, Wash. Finally Debby begins to talk about her family. It is not uncommon for groups of 20 to 30 prostitutes to gather on one corner, at 5th Street or Westminster or Hazard avenues, and boisterously yell at passing cars. She related one incident:.
You do not need to meet in person to be charged with solicitation
Scheer has heard this story before a thousand times. Her mood begins to change as she realizes she is about to walk out the door. Scheer tries to calm her, talking to her in soothing monotones, asking her questions, getting the same old answers.
The money is just too good. Julianne rolls up the sweater over the other arm to the elbow. If police launch a crackdown in one city, the pimps move their operations to another.