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Tags: Cover Story. More Cover Story ». Showing 1- 1 of 1. Add a comment. Submit an event. Style Weekly's mission is to provide smart, witty and tenacious coverage of Richmond. Our editorial team strives to reveal Richmond's true identity through unflinching journalism, incisive writing, thoughtful criticism, arresting photography and sophisticated presentation.
We make sense of the news; pursue those in power; explore the city's arts and culture; open windows on provocative ideas; and help readers know Richmond through its people. We give readers the information to make intelligent decisions. Style Weekly. Favorite Saving…. Sex and the City It's easy to sell your body in Richmond. But police are more determined than ever to stop you. By Melissa Scott Sinclair.
Style agreed to change the names of undercover officers. We also agreed to not reveal certain police investigative methods and tactics, such as internal communication. Because it is not crucial to the story, we have omitted the names of the men and women charged, and in some cases convicted, of prostitution or solicitation in the incidents described. The vice unit is heading out. For safety reasons, officers rarely work alone. Tonight, they go out in pairs, in separate, unmarked cars, keeping track of each other via radio.
The cars pass neon s and abandoned shops, small motels and bus stops. Nick veers off the street and stops in a dim lot. He waits in the shadows off a quiet intersection, near a small church with a neon cross. Time to move on. A few more circuits and Will has another target. A few words exchanged, the young woman steps into his car and they drive off. Will drives the car slowly down a narrow residential street.
Nick tails him at a distance. He parallel parks on the side as soon as Will does, a short distance behind. Lights off, Nick waits for the al. The girl is cornered. Got an ID on you? How old are you? The answers: No. A pale center part divides her long brown hair, pulled back with a white band. She stares at the dashboard through wire-rim glasses. She looks young enough to be in high school. And she has mace in her pocket. Sometimes, police say prostitutes thank them for catching them.
But other times, they fight back. A few years back, one detective was badly slashed by a woman with a knife. Some prostitutes lure customers — or undercover police officers — to rooms where armed cohorts are waiting in ambush to rob them. Prostitutes have other tricks up their sleeves too — officers recount dozens of stories about women who bite, spit, urinate or intentionally pass gas in the police car.
One infamous prostitute in the north side of Richmond threw her colostomy bag at an arresting officer. Some women are unwashed, sometimes reeking; often, detectives say, the cars they use must be thoroughly scrubbed before they can be driven again. Transvestites can be the most dangerous.
Large and strong, they carry small knives, steak knives, sometimes guns. And the transvestites are the most cunning of all the prostitutes on the city streets, officers say. They tend to band together in groups of three to six, and police suspect they maintain a cell-phone network to warn each other when the cops are out. Drug-addicted women, on the other hand, are less savvy and more desperate.
No guardian angels on the streets, he says. Where you been? Nick stays and chats with her while they wait. She tells him another woman told her to avoid the police by watching for a particular plate. Amused, he asks what the was. She has no reply. Will returns and flashes a quick Polaroid shot of her through the open window of the car, for police files. She lights a cigarette. She does. Again, Will asks her about her record, and her voice grows shrill. It is when the cars pull up to the rear entrance of the jail annex at N.
Ninth St. The officers instruct their charge, now wearing silver handcuffs, to sit on a solitary wooden chair. No tobacco products allowed, a says. She watches them fall one by one, like thin tan darts. Through a heavy door, sticky with years of handprints, is a cramped blue room crammed with forms in every pastel hue. Here the magistrate takes depositions via closed-circuit television. While they wait for the magistrate, Nick riffles through the backpack, looking for anything illegal.
He pulls out a large multipack of K. Watching him, the woman utters a single harsh, loud laugh.
I just want to go home. With her mom, she replies. Her thin frame is all angles in a dark sweatshirt and pale jeans. Her eyes are large, her complexion pale and pitted. When the magistrate is finished, the screen goes dark. The woman asks if she can make a phone call and Will tells her she can. The printer in the blue room goes zit zit zit as it prints out a form. Nick finds a silver cigarette case in the bag and shakes its contents, too, into the trash.
The woman stands, holding the paper scrap with her thumbs behind her back. She kicks her feet. Will scrubs his hands at the small sink outside and shoots his crumpled paper towel at the trashcan. Perfect shot. They take her into the booking room, where deputies on the late shift laugh and joke over the whir of the fingerprint machine. Will wears latex gloves as he goes through the rest of the contents of her backpack.
He finds gloves and a hairbrush. A small bottle of beige foundation. A change purse. Lip gloss. Healing Garden perfume. A prescription-labeled plastic bottle, but no drugs. And he finds two weapons — a small folding pocketknife printed with a Confederate flag and a wickedly honed triangle in a leather sheath. They leave the young woman there, where she will be held until she is taken to the main jail on Fairfield Way. The heavy metal gate falls behind the officers as they go. That heavy gate often seems to police like a speedily revolving door.
Not long ago, Nick arrested a woman for prostitution on the Pike at 5 p. Last year, MacKnight relates, a transvestite out on bond for a conviction he was appealing was caught a second time for prostitution. He posted bail for that charge, was released and then arrested again. Johns, on the other hand, are rarely caught twice. They get off lightly the first time, he explains, but a second arrest for solicitation almost always means a hefty fine and jail time.
Disappearing for three or 30 days is hard to explain to your wife and. The answer is simple: Police estimate 98 percent to percent of female prostitutes and male hustlers are addicted to drugs. The transvestites are professionals, and not all have a drug problem. Few prostitutes have anything on them when caught, however, only residue in pipes or a fine dusting of powder in empty bags. Instead, they bear the ravages of drugs: hollow eyes, rotten teeth, wasted limbs punctuated with track marks.Women wanting sex Richmond
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