Prostitution Unit Centers on Pimps; Cops Focus on Men Bringing Women across State Lines, a Federal Offense
Byline: Jonathan York, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
D.C. police say efforts to stop prostitution have focused on stopping men from transporting sex-trade workers from across state lines.
Right now, police have two such cases in the federal court system, including one next month in which a New York man is accused of bringing female teens to the District. Police say the man confessed to committing the crime on "several occasions."
The second case involves a man who awaits sentencing for bringing a teenager from Ohio to the District. The government did not prosecute him for transporting another teen and a 22-year-old woman as part of a plea agreement.
Stopping or at least curbing prostitution is primarily the work of the Metropolitan Police Department's prostitution enforcement unit, which helped investigate both cases. Mark A. Gilkey, the unit's senior investigator, said "pimp cases" are his top priorities.
"When you have the opportunity to make one of these cases, you put all available resources behind it," he said. "Prosecuting the pimps is difficult."
Such was the case last year when the prostitution unit failed to get an indictment against a pimp because two prostitutes were reluctant to testify.
Still, Detective Gilkey said the cases prove the unit does good police work and gets major investigations to trial.
In the trial set for Aug. 5, Roderick W. Jackson of Syracuse, N.Y., is accused of bringing a carload of prostitutes to the District on May 14, according to court documents.
The documents state Jackson, 37, and another man drove the four prostitutes - including a 16- and 17-year-old - from New York state to Washington. Jackson made similar trips on at least six other occasions, the documents also state.
Testifying in a bond hearing, Detective Gilkey said Jackson, whose record includes a conviction for attempted felony assault, intimidated prostitutes by slapping them and taking their cell phones. He also said Jackson's business even included a trainee program in which a woman was brought to the District just to see whether she could do the work.
Jackson was interrogated soon after he rented a hotel room for the prostitutes, then sent them to K Street NW at about 2 a.m., according to court filings. One of the women told a 1st District police officer she had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
Detective Gilkey testified that it was not clear whether the prostitute was held against her will. Jackson told police the woman was a crack cocaine addict whom he paid with drugs, and that she lied about a kidnapping because Jackson did not give her cocaine on the trip.
Jackson also admitted to bringing the women to the District for prostitution and said he had brought the two teenage prostitutes into the city at least six times, Detective Gilkey said.
The Rev. Clarence R. Diggs, a friend of Jackson's, said by phone Tuesday from New York he was "astounded" the younger man confessed. …