Special Report: Sex Sting

By: Chris Sutter Email
By: Chris Sutter Email

Kalamazoo Street, it's by no means the Rodeo Drive of Lansing. But, this is a place where honest people, trying to make an honest living, are raising their kids.

It's also where we find "Shyla."

"This is a good hang out for all of the working girls, they'll troll this area actually over by the Village Party store," an Undercover Lansing Police Officer tells us.

She is just one of the several women walking the streets trying to make a quick buck by selling her body.

The only thing that's different about "Shyla" is that she's a Lansing Police Officer.

"I'll have homeowners yelling at me and I just want to yell back, I'm trying to help you guys out," "Shyla" explains.

"Shyla" is a part of an LPD undercover unit that's hitting the streets in unmarked cars, hiding in every nook and cranny to try to not only find prostitutes, but the men who keep them in business.

"Most homeowners wouldn't want street walkers walking up and down the street, or people making circles at all hours of the night. It's an eyesore," "Shyla" says.

We went along for this undercover investigation that started in the late afternoon, but as we quickly learned, just because it's still light out doesn't mean that prostitutes aren't out in full force.

The hunt begins.

A man looks interested, pulling up in a red Blazer and taking the bait.

"Hey how are you?" "Shyla asks the man.

Every word is monitored closely by undercover officers.

There is no deal, at least not yet. The man who approaches "Shyla" wants to make sure the police aren't pulling a fast one on him.

The undercover cops see the guy in the red Blazer, but he doesn't see them.

The deal is back on.

"How much money you got?" "Shyla" asks the man.

The deal...sex for 20 dollars. "Shyla" and the man decide on a meeting place.

She won't be meeting him there, but officers race to the site to make sure they will.

He may not look like the kind of guy who'd be out on the streets looking for sex, but "Shyla" says the guys who she solicits rarely do.

"You get the married gentlemen, whose wives have no idea what they're doing. One gentleman I talked to today was going to drop off his daughter and call me later," "Shyla" explains.

As the sun begins to set over the Capitol city, Lansing Police say prostitution spreads into all areas of town. And once night falls, the level of danger for the women out working the streets rises dramatically.

"People can look at it like it's just Lansing, but people do get killed out here," "Shyla" explains.

Nevertheless, some still take their chances.

Another deal is in the works, this time a male undercover officer spots a woman in the downtown area who he thinks may be looking for sex.

This woman means business, within the first five minutes, the buy is complete, and no sooner than the deal's made, does she notice that police have stopped the undercover car she's riding in.

The 43 year-old woman is arrested.

"She'll either be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony," Undercover officer, Chris Devline, explains.

And while what the woman has resulted to, to make money is sad, it's certainly not the worst of what happens on dark Lansing streets.

"We just had one today that just had a seven month old, she's currently pregnant and she's out there working the streets," "Shyla" says.

That alone is what keeps the undercover cops coming back for more.

"The last thing we want to see is someone's mom getting killed for twenty bucks," "Shyla" tells us.

Even if only one life is saved because of her work, she says it's well worth it.

Should Fighting Prostitution Be A Priority For Police?

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Anonymous on May 22, 2009 at 07:26 AM
    By making it legal, it does solve a lot of problems and it can be over regulated to eliminate it.
  • by sandy on May 21, 2009 at 07:46 PM
    if it keeps going will all be on the corners here in mi both men and women for they'll be no jobs and for most like me i cant collect welfare, everyday im out there trying to find a job sinse i lost mine in dec, its tempting of the way you can get quick money tax free
  • by Anonymous on May 21, 2009 at 01:37 PM
    This might be one of the few original reporting that WILX has done in the last few months. Highlighting crime and what happens to criminals is one way to keep people from committing these crimes in the first place.
  • by Sick & Tired Location: Lansing on May 21, 2009 at 11:19 AM
    Wow! I think it is sad for a women that has to do this because she feals there is no other way, but if this is a carrer choice then knock yourself out. Just give them a part of a city street or city parking lot for that type of business and tax them like they do in Germnay 50% and the city finacial problems will be gone. As sick as it sounds they are going to always provide these services no matter what the police say or do. Lock them up today and there right back at it tomorrow. You may not agree with it and I dont like the practice but like I said its going to continue has for 1000s of years
  • by Anonymous on May 21, 2009 at 08:57 AM
    The posted comments are disgusting. Why is prostitution being condoned? Let's support the police instead. Maybe if we get the street walkers and trollers out of here, people will spend their money on other things, not to mention families can enjoy their neighborhoods once again. Geez.
  • by Anonymous on May 21, 2009 at 06:09 AM
    This is sad, but at least they aren't stealing or selling drugs to kids. People of Michigan is this the future for us?
  • by geegee on May 20, 2009 at 11:11 PM
    dont be surprise if you see older people doing it for they have lost their jobs and too young to retire, the only problem is who has the money to pay them for theirs no jobs let alone good jobs that pay for you to pay for the entertainment i cant even pay for a movie
  • by nana on May 20, 2009 at 10:32 PM
    at least its all american pay without a bailout but who knows maybe they'll ship their jobs to china to.
  • by kevin on May 20, 2009 at 10:09 PM
    old school is the best school at least their not selling out like our governor and president. you got to do what keeps americans going.
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