Cracking down on prostitution in Tulsa

Thursday, September 23rd 2004, 10:14 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police officers went undercover for a prostitution sting Thursday and News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright rode along.

It's a constant problem. Tulsans call police and complain that street hookers ruin their neighborhoods by bringing in traffic and leaving behind their drug trash. Lori interviewed two women about their life on the street and why they do it. During Thursday's sting operation, police officers arrested a half a dozen women in two hours.

The officers drive the areas that create the most complaints and quickly find working girls. Most of the women will perform sex acts for $5, $10, or $15.

Once a woman realizes her customer is actually a cop, you can hear her dismay. They'll join the rest of the women in a police van for a trip downtown, spend hours getting bail money then, maybe, start all over again.

Rosalind Davis is 29 years old, she doesn't mind if we use her name, but wanted to hide her face. She's six months pregnant and has three other children who are 6, 7 and 8. She says she turns tricks to get money for crack. "For the drugs, the excitement. I can't say the money, cause there's not much money cause it goes to the drugs."

Rosalind recently had a friend who nearly had her arm cut off by a customer. But even that wasn't enough to scare either woman straight. "She's back on the streets. It didn't faze her one bit. Didn't change her one bit." Lori Fullbright: "Does it make you scared?" Rosalind: "No, I've been on and off the streets for 10 years."

Police say this type of vice crime may seem small, but it ruins neighborhoods and causes other crimes. Tulsa Police Sgt Luke Sherman with the Selective Enforcement Unit: "Johns bring the money, the girls have drugs habits. There are burglaries committed so the men can get the money to bring to the girls, it's a revolving door."

Another woman, who we will call Cindy, is 50 and Thursday was her third prostitution arrest. She's married; her kids are 15 and 17. She says drugs have destroyed her life, but she can't quit. "I try not to. I don't want to lose my husband. I don't want my family to see me." It's just a sad existence, but the pull of drugs is just so powerful, they can't give it up.

Be that as it may, Tulsa Police say as long as neighbors fighting to keep their communities crime free, officers will fight right along with them by making these arrests and more.