WASHINGTON – At the intersection of 11th and K Streets in Northwest, a local secret has come out into broad daylight.
“The first thing you notice is the shoes. They are usually ultra big.”
It’s six o’clock in the morning and sharing the sidewalks with joggers, tourists and commuter buses: prostitutes.
“You can’t miss them when you see them,” says Joe O’Donnell. “They stick out like a sore thumb.”
O’Donnell is the building manager for 1100 L Street, whose sidewalk is littered with prostitutes just before the sun rises.
“I’ve chased them out of here,” O’Donnell says. “They come back with their pimps and their bodyguards. I stand at the corner and tell them they can’t come across the street.”
Our cameras caught the women always on the move, walking a circuit between K and L Streets between 11th and 14th, ducking into alleyways when they smell trouble.
“It’s almost a cat and mouse game,” says Metropolitan Police Commander David Kamperin. He says the District’s Prostitution Enforcement Unit has aggressively cracked down on prostitution in the last month, arresting 88 people in the last three months.
He says when police get a complaint; they typically send undercover officers to the area that same day. They often target the “Johns,” or men trolling the streets for a woman.
“If you come here to solicit a prostitute, there’s a very good likelihood that you’ll be soliciting undercover officers,” Kamperin says.
But neighbors say it’s not just the sex. They’re also frustrated by what else the prostitutes do when they walk the streets. Our camera caught one woman leaving a client’s car. She walks to a bus stop and pulls her dress down to fix her bra. She then pulls the bottom of her dress up and does something too gross to describe. In the process, she exposes herself in full view of morning traffic.