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San Francisco Adds Barricades to Curb Sex Work in Mission District

In an effort to stop rampant prostitution, the city of San Francisco set up barricades Friday to stop sex workers and their potential clients from monopolizing four residential blocks in the Mission District.

San Francisco police set up roadblocks on Capp Street, between 18th and 22nd streets, where prostitution has taken over the roadway after sundown nearly every day, but especially on the weekends.

While they’re just temporary, residents told NBC Bay Area that they want something a little heavier.

“These barricades represent the extent of the resources that this city will put towards the mission,” said San Francisco resident Brian McComas.

McComas has an office in the neighborhood, where he said he practically lives.

He told NBC bay Area that the sex work traffic in the mostly residential area has gone up a lot in the past two years. But he’s not necessarily a fan of these roadblocks.

“What I’d like to see is the neighbors out here not complaining about what’s on their streets and helping out on the streets, because we can’t push this to a different district or push it over to Shotwell Street,” he said.

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen requested the blockades after receiving numerous complaints from Capp Street residents.

“The goal of this operation is to really get the sex trade off of the residential street. Capp Street is almost 100% residential with single family homes,” said Santiago Lerma, San Francisco District 9’s legislative aid.

Lerma added that Ronen will also push for measures in Sacramento to decriminalize sex work, so that it can be regulated.

“So, we can use the department of public health to regulate and keep these workers safe, because ultimately that’s the goal here is to, at this point, to keep the neighbors safe but we also need to make sure the workers that are out there are also safe,” Lerma said.

McComas said that he’ll only believe it when he sees real changes to the law to legally regulate sex work.

“They can propose these ideas a thousand times. It looks good to come down here politically like you care, but if you’re not caring every day – you don’t care,” he said.

Ronen’s office said the city will be monitoring the sex work traffic and police have beefed-up patrols in the area.

In the meantime, Lerma said that city workers will replace the metal blockades with heavy plastic or concrete barriers in about a week.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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