Sex worker arrests declining in Dallas

dallas Whether it's in broad daylight or after sundown, you will find them here. 

They're standing in the parking lot of an adult video store or walking behind a motel down the street. 

Harry Hines Boulevard has had a long association with suspected prostitution, but Dulce Lopez says the last eight months have been like nothing she's ever seen. 

"It's crazy because we're right here in the corner and we see it all the time every hour of the day," said Lopez, longtime manager of Sign Express on Denton Drive.  

Lopez says the sex workers are driving away customers. 

"If they could clean the area up a little at least, it would be great," she said. "We would get a lot more customers here."

Mohammed Jinini, co-owner of King's Outlet, said the number of suspected sex workers right outside his store has increased dramatically since last fall. 

"For the business it's really bad now," he said. "If you have a family, you want to get in, you think twice before you park and come in."

The City of Dallas has an ordinance that prohibits loitering for the purpose of soliciting sex known as manifestation, which is a Class C misdemeanor. 

CBS News Texas looked into the number of citations and arrests made through an open records request. 

Dallas Manifestation Citations/Arrests:

2020 - 913 cases2021 - 384 cases2022 - 465 cases 2023 - 622 cases2024 - 0 cases

Source: Dallas Municipal Court 

We found hundreds of cases filed every year since 2020 but none this year. 

We asked Dallas Police why and were told the city's ordinance had to be rewritten last year. 

That, according to a DPS spokesperson, is because "... a court held that the ordinance was unconstitutional. The city has appealed that ruling. In the meantime, the city has since amended the ordinance to address the court's concerns, and DPD is in the final planning stages to begin enforcement under the new ordinance."

A number of Dallas officers said off-camera that prostitution cases take more time and resources than a lot of other criminal offenses. 

The vice unit has conducted three sting operations with undercover officers this year to arrest customers – or John's – but that approach fails to address availability of prostitution. 

The majority of the young women found walking these streets should be treated as victims, according to POETIC, a Dallas agency that offers trauma therapy and support services to those abused by sex trafficking. 

They say police enforcement can be effective if it emphasizes intervention and recovery options over punishment. 

"I think if the intention is to get these victims the help and care that they need, then that is always the first line of defense … is always what we first want to happen," said Chelsea Robertson, POETIC's director of partnerships.

But with no enforcement, it will continue to be the scene in northwest Dallas – a neighborhood that now has Lopez shortening the hours of her sign and T-shirt shop.

"So when it's close to that time, we lock the doors just in case," she said.

It also leaves Jinini uncomfortable bringing his own family to his store until something is done about the crime happening in plain sight.  

"Somebody, they asked me is it legal in Dallas," Jinini said. "I say, 'No it's not legal, but it seems like it's legal.'"

More from CBS News

J.D. Miles


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