DALLAS – A member of the Dallas City Council gave a powerful firsthand account of seeing women and children being forced into prostitution.
It persuaded him to support a tougher ordinance against sex traffickers, but some are worried about racial profiling.
Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved the new law, but only after they witnessed the abuse for themselves.
The new law will allow Dallas police officers to pull someone over and issue a $500 ticket if they are circling an area known as the prostitution epicenter of Dallas.
The streets covered by the ordinance would be Harry Hines, between Royal and Lombardy, as well as Shady Trail.
Business owners and residents in Northwest Dallas have complained that the rampant prostitution in the area is leading to other criminal activity involving drugs and gun violence.
But when Dallas City Council members heard the proposal last month, some raised concerns that people of color could be unfairly targeted.
On Wednesday, Dallas City Councilman Omar Narvaez revealed what he saw on a ride along with Dallas PD that earned his support for the new law, as long as there were a number of improvements to it.
“I went out on ride along with Vice. I was watching minors being forced into sex work. Little girls that were 10, 12, 14, some as old as 16 years old. I overheard, on the radios, women asking to get a drink of water, and being denied because they hadn’t made $1,000 yet,” he recalled. “These women deserve resources, and they deserve help.”
Narvaez proposed a number of changes to the original ordinance.
It requires a yearly review on its effectiveness, along with a sunset date in two years.
The law ensures the target will be the pimps and johns.
There will also be resources dedicated to helping the women who are being forced into sex acts.
Narvaez’s proposal also requires the area be marked with signs at the border and intersections to warn people they are in a targeted enforcement zone.