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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