Prostitution operates at all hours near Naval Base San Diego

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Business owners said illegal sex activity picks up on military paydays.

SAN DIEGO — Business owners along Main Street near Naval Base San Diego in Barrio Logan are fed up with alleged prostitution in their neighborhood. Click here to watch the full news clip.

Streetwalkers and johns appear to be hooking up at all hours of the day on side streets, including Dalbergia Street at Vesta Street near the navy base entrance.

“This part of town just isn’t America’s finest city,” said Nelson Sanabria, a business owner along Dalbergia Street.

“Everyday, girls back and forth, back and forth. Guys coming to pick up all the time,” said Sanabria.

News 8 spent one afternoon recording video of activity in the area: streetwalkers flagging down cars, talking to johns, getting into vehicles and driving away.

Other business owners shared video of prostitution taking place in broad daylight, all-out brawls in the street, and lewd acts in public.

“You see people having sex here on the street, and you cannot do much.  I mean you say, ‘Oh my gosh again?’” said Sanabria.

San Diego police are certainly aware of the activity.  Cell phone video showed a streetwalker getting into a truck, right before a police cruiser pulls up behind her. The male driver sees the officers and it doesn’t take long for the woman to hop out of the car and walk away.

“There’s no respect for people driving cars.  If you’re coming down the street, they will block your way,” said one business owner who asked to remain anonymous.

He said customers have refused to come into his business because of prostitution activity on the street.

“They have certain people working in the morning, the noon, the afternoon.  I know that sounds like it can’t be true, but it is absolutely true,” the business owner said.

The acting lieutenant of the San Diego police vice unit told News 8 that officers have issued several misdemeanor citations in the area as part of a three-month operation aimed at cleaning up the neighborhood.

But it doesn’t appear to be working.

“They say they can’t do anything unless they catch them in the act. That’s just the old story,” said the business owner.

News 8 approached one of the women on the street but she did not want to be interviewed.

Some business owners told News 8, the johns appear to be coming from Naval Base San Diego (also known as 32nd Street Naval Station) right across Main Street.

They said the problem seems to get worse on military paydays.

“I heard they’re charging $150, 100 bucks, whatever. They’re giving it away,” said Sanabria.

U.S. Navy spokesperson Brian O’Rourke emailed News 8 the following written statement:

“The solicitation of prostitution and human trafficking are clear violations of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and contrary to the Navy’s core values. We take these issues very seriously, Navy-wide and in San Diego. The Navy conducts mandatory annual training for every sailor on the significant risk trafficking poses for victims and the legal and professional consequences faced by those who participate in such activities.”

District 8, San Diego City Councilmember Vivian Moreno issued the following statement to News 8:

“My staff immediately contacted the San Diego Police Department upon receiving the first complaints in 2019 regarding the prostitution activity occurring near Dalbergia Street. The increase in activity poses a public safety risk to our communities, and my staff is in constant communication with SDPD’s Central Division regarding this matter. I encourage any residents who are impacted by this activity to contact my office.”

Watch Related: Advocates sound the alarm about human trafficking, prostitution in National City (May 2021)