Oakland vigil calls for 'radical solutions' after alleged sex workers seen soliciting outside school

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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Oakland vigil calls for 'radical solutions' to sex trafficking problem
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A vigil was held Tuesday at St. Anthony's Church in East Oakland for the victims of human trafficking as dozens prayed for outcomes and solutions.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Less than a week after the ABC7 News I-Team broke a story about alleged sex workers soliciting right outside of an Oakland catholic school, the community is responding.

A vigil was held Tuesday evening at St. Anthony's Church in East Oakland for the victims of human trafficking.

Candles were lit Tuesday night outside of St. Anthony's Church in East Oakland as dozens prayed for outcomes and solutions.

Recent images show young women outside of St. Anthony K-8 grade school, appearing to solicit themselves for sex.

RELATED: Video showing alleged sex workers soliciting outside East Oakland school sparks call for action

"Tonight we gather as one with an urgent need for radical solutions," said Rodney Pierre Antoine of Lumen Christi Academies.

ABC7's Stephanie Sierra first showed you video of the alleged soliciting in her I-Team report.

She featured Rosa Vargas, a concerned parent who again on Tuesday said the women are still out there near the school at all hours of the day.

"We need to start putting surveillance cameras up to monitor closely. To have the evidence on hand to start prosecuting," said Vargas.

While this vigil did focus on the problems, there was also a spotlight placed on the solutions.

RELATED: Oakland police, FBI take action to assess trafficking concerns near school after I-Team report

"It is through these efforts that the City of Oakland will now be setting up traffic diverters here on East 15th," said an advocate and member of St. Anthony's Church.

Sadly the deputy chief says when they were on their way to the event at St. Anthony's, they came across a 15-year-old girl from Southern California on a nearby corner.

"So that young lady who is from southern California, who is 15 years old, is being brought down to the police department to receive wraparound services and hopefully placed in a situation where she can actually address some of the drama she has experienced," said Oakland Deputy Police Chief James Beere.

Beere says last year, 169 people were arrested on prostitution type crimes. Eight kids were rescued but the deputy chief believes that more needs to be done community wide to address this issue.

"Not going to arrest our way out, have to come together. We're just one small piece in the answer to this problem," said Beere.

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