Selling Sex for a Living

3/22/2008 Fresno Officers are taking time to talk to the prostitutes and warn them about the consequences they could face. But police say the women are often more motivated by money than they are scared of the possible punishment.

Encounters with prostitutes are a disturbingly common part of patrol for Officers Antonio Cuyler and Matthew Pap.

The partners cover a section of Fresno that includes Parkway Drive, an area known to be a popular spot for prostitutes.

"When we start to know them by name, start to recognize them, they end up disappearing, they go to a different city or state, work there for awhile, and they kind of move around. They call it the circuit," says Officer Pap.

The officers recognize this woman and decide to stop her for questioning. It turns out she has 3 warrants for prostitution.

"This life it ain't no easy life. There ain't no easy life period," the prostitute says. But the 22 year old tells us she has no other way to make money and has no plans to change her lifestyle.

"We ain't harming nobody at all. We're just doing what we got to do to get our money. And if this is the only way we know how to do it, then hey, this is how we going to do it."

But authorities say these women are putting themselves in serious danger. Just this week Fresno police arrested a man accused of raping several suspected prostitutes. And officers say there are many other consequences that come with selling sex.

"You end up getting fights over territory, turf wars; it tends to breed a lot of drugs and violence in the area," says Officer Pap.

That's why the department is committed to continuing this battle on the streets, despite the fact that it can be a frustrating fight.

"We take them to jail, they come back out as soon as they're out, they pay their fines, it's sort of a price of doing business for them," Officer Pap says.

Officers say prostitutes with a record may spend time in jail or be put on probation. But many are cited and released and back on the streets the same day.

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