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Driving along Interstate 5 in National City, you can see the Rodeway Inn, clearly visible as it sits a few hundred feet from that busy freeway. Jose Tellez, the National City Police Chief, a year veteran of the force, says the area is frequented by traffickers and pimps. The Rodeway Inn is located along the block of Roosevelt Avenue near other motels. It is not unusual to see a line of tractor trailers parked along the curb across the street, night and day. In December, the motel was in the news after woman was stabbed with a pair of scissors and set on fire. A year-old Texas man was arrested several days later on attempted murder, arson and pimping charges.


The A Mart convenience store is located at the El Cajon Transit Center, a bustling terminal for trains and buses located at South Marshall Avenue on the west side of El Cajon Valley, where Interstate 8 twists north before straightening out again on its journey eastward.

The El Cajon Transit Center park-and-ride is just one of dozens of spots throughout San Diego County where illegal commerce is thriving. At these clandestine marketplaces, you can buy sexual services, marijuana, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, and stolen guns and other property.

Prostitutes’ photos, case details put online

Just as in the legitimate retail world, online sales have hurt street-crime peddlers, particularly in the area of stolen goods, which are now much more commonly offered for sale on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace than on some street corner or transit-center parking lot. The Internet now s for 70 percent of prostitution, though there are still areas around town where street prostitution is prevalent. Street drug sales are now the most prevalent form of illegal commerce, law enforcement officials say.

Our map of two dozen illegal commerce spots — spread out throughout San Diego County — was compiled through law enforcement officials; beat cops who walk the streets; executives with non-profits that work with the homeless, addicts and sex workers; and ordinary people who may have done business of some sort at one or more of these underground shops.

Many of these places are known by police, and subject to periodic crackdowns. But for whatever reason — location, access to escape routes, or reputation — they continue to thrive. This rough little stretch of road, pushed up against the Interstate 5 freeway on the eastern end of East Village, was overlooked by the redevelopment that transformed the former produce district into a yuppie paradise centered around the Petco Park baseball stadium.

No fancy high-rise condos or gastropubs here; just aging bungalows and apartments and a steady parade of vagrants selling drugs. Twelve of the arrests were made on 17th Street. Hookers routinely walk the street here, turning tricks, generally at night, San Diego police say. Sometimes they venture north to Boston Street, the north side of which is a long parking lot overlooking Interstate 5. Kennedy in a motorcade cruising down the boulevard in June But since the s, San Diego police say, the area has been a hotbed for street prostitution, particularly near the intersection with Kansas Street, near the Interstate crossover.

Tricks are turned mostly in cars parked on side streets. Despite frequent police crackdowns, the hookers remain.

The hotels along Hotel Circle in Mission Valley, particularly on the south side, are a popular spot for sex workers to meet up with clients they solicit on the Internet. The problem in recent years has become so bad that in the San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Exploitation of Children Advisory Council developed a training program for hotels and motels on how to detect s of human trafficking, such as guests paying in cash, asking for a room away from high-traffic areas, and condom wrappers in the trash. The Midway District, home to several strip clubs and near the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, is one of the few remaining spots in the city of San Diego where street prostitution is still a problem.

And Midway Drive, with its proliferation of strip malls, provides perfect cover for various sex acts in parked cars as well as in hotels south on Rosecrans. The section of Ocean Front Prostitutes san diego between Garnet Avenue to the north and Grand Avenue to the south has been turned into a pedestrian promenade, wider than the boardwalk to the south and flanked by grassy knolls and a row of oceanfront benches.

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San Diego Police report an uptick in gang activity over the summer in the community of Linda Vista, centered around this busy commercial intersection — home to a Vietnamese supermarket and other businesses. Local gangs engage in street sales of heroin, methamphetamine, and heroin.

Carlsbad police say there are no illegal commerce sites anywhere in their city, but locals maintain otherwise. A big tree facing the Harding Avenue parking lot at this 7. E Street east of Interstate 5 is Prostitutes san diego to several inexpensive motels that are sometimes frequented by hookers and their clients. On the south side of the street is the E Street Transit Center, which, like many other transit centers around the county, has become a hangout for transients.

Almost all of our human trafficking activity has moved online. A few years ago, it was all available through various websites such as Craigslist and Back. Recently, federal law enforcement agencies took steps to crack down on and, in some cases, seize these websites.

San diego's illegal marketplaces

Now, most sex-related advertisements have moved to pay sites. The prostitution activity that does occur is usually driven by Internet listings and takes place in motels, private residences, or in vehicles. This section of the wide boulevard has plenty of legitimate businesses, including a strip mall that is home to Cricket Wireless, a Mexican bakery and taco shop, and an e-smoke shop. A fenced-off vacant lot on the southeast corner of this south Chula Vista intersection is pitch black during the night; on the other side of Industrial is the Palomar Transit Center.

Again, police report a variety of illegal commerce in motels that is typically arranged online but consummated in hotels — and hotel parking lots.

For years, the Square was a hotbed of street hooking. Neither prostitutes nor nor johns are found in The Square much these days. And yet law enforcement officials say drug sales continue to be a problem, generally small quantities of marijuana or methamphetamine. A proliferation of gang activity around the trolley station in this East County town is behind the sex trafficking going on in the parking lot and surrounding streets, sources say. In Septembertwo men were arrested at the Ramada Inn on National City Boulevard after attempting to pick up a woman and her year-old sister to work as prostitutes.

This park, just south of the San Luis Rey River, has multipurpose sports fields, a picnic area, and a playground. Recently, the park also has become popular with drug dealers, many of them gang members, who sell methamphetamine.

Human rights advocates warn street in national city a hotbed of sex trafficking

Illegal commerce has picked up at the park since shootings and police crackdowns at nearby Libby Lake and Melba Bishop parks, says Oceanside police spokesman Tom Bussey. What do you get when you cross a dark, multi-story parking structure with a transit center that is a notorious hangout for vagrants and drug peddlers?

An indoor flea market of illegal commerce. Parking is free. Cancel Post reply. As to the downtown references, these are just the densely populated homeless areas. Why not list all the nightclubs that have escorts and coke in them? Are we attacking blight or the actual problem?

San diego's tourism also attracts the sex trade, pop-up brothels

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See all neighborhoods. Cover Stories. Photograph by Thomas K. El Cajon Transit Center.

Photograph by David Phillipich. Commercial Street, between 17th and 14th streets. El Cajon Boulevard at Kansas Street.

Foot of Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach. Here's something you might be interested in.

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KGTV -- Local law enforcement arrested and cited more people for crimes related to prostitution and solicitation last year than in


Scharf, Editor.


But this relatively new business model has touched off a whole new way of doing business for another industry: the sex trade.