'Nightmare on 15th Street': Oakland residents fume as sex workers descend upon quiet neighborhood
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Oakland residents are infuriated as sex workers march up and down their neighborhood wearing skimpy see-through clothing in broad daylight. East 15th Street has long been affected by sex trafficking and locals demand the city leadership take action.
At the San Antonio Neighborhood Safety Action event on Saturday, October 8, around 300 residents came to see how two candidates for District 3 Alameda County supervisor and three candidates for Oakland mayor will tackle the problem.
According to people, earlier, the neighborhood was a peaceful street. However, as the city reorganised International Boulevard (also known as East 14th Street), sex workers migrated over to East 15th and started soliciting clients on the streets.
Estefani Zarate, a lifelong local, was left aghast as she was walking with her child in a stroller, according to KPIX-TV. "I think it's inappropriate but we can't really do much towards them," said Zarate. She said that she was afraid of what her young children see in the neighborhood and that she often did not have answers to their questions. "It shouldn't be introduced at the age of 4 years old that you're going down the street and you're seeing women dress like this (or) you need to learn, 'Oh, if you hear gunshots, duck down,'" said Marlen, Zarate's sister. In addition to prostitution, several families expressed their dissatisfaction with homeless camps and gun violence, reported CBS News
"The mayor has to send a message that Oakland is not a dumping ground, people!" mayoral candidate Ignacio De La Fuente stated. "That Oakland is not the place you come do the s**t that you don't do anywhere else. (We need to send the message) that, in Oakland, we're going to enforce the law when people come to violate the law."
"On the council I'm the only one up here today that voted against defunding the police and making sure that we did not take away the police academies," said mayoral candidate and councilman Loren Taylor. "Violence intervention and violence interrupters and violence prevention is equally or, if not more, important than the response only," Sheng Thao, a councilwoman running for mayor stated.
In July, Governer Newsom approved legislation that made loitering for sex workers not a felony. The supporters of the bill claimed that it was too subjective and police officers were unfairly targeting minority women, transgender persons and "non-gender-conforming people."
The sex workers weren't even afraid about being on the news while reporters taped their piece, as per a KPIX reporter, who said he had lived in the same neighbourhood but moved away due to safety concerns, reported Theblaze. "I moved out because I didn't want to raise a family in this environment, but a lot of neighbors tell me they can't afford to move, so their only hope is that city leaders will stop this problem," the reporter said.
Oakland is situated in the very liberal Alameda County. In the 2020 presidential election, 79.8% of voters in Alameda voted Democrat while only 17.6% voted Republican.