Under Cover, Under Arrest--Part I - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/05

Under Cover, Under Arrest--Part I

Sex, drugs, and crime. All the ingredients to one of Savannah's dirty little secrets: prostitution. And police say Savannah is just like any other city when it comes to women who walk the streets to earn a living.

Some people we spoke with have lived here forever and say they have never seen a prostitute. But the police say it is a big problem, and breeds even more problems. The people who watch it happen firsthand say it's time to clean up the streets.

Ladies of the night, hookers, prostitutes, Sonny Maharaj says whatever you call them, ten years ago they were unavoidable. "You could see people walking and standing on corners, things like that," he said.

Today, the owner of Bradley's Crab House on Henry Street would like to think his neighborhood has changed in a good way. "For the last five years, I haven't seen none of that at all," he said. "That stuff is out of style. I don't think it exists."

Virginia Mobley lives just a few blocks away and knows what the prostitutes look like. "They are kind of easy to recognize, they all have a certain walk," she said.

She knows what corners they work. "They will be up and down Abercorn, up and down 38th Street."

Mobley grew up in Savannah, heads the Thomas Square Residents Association, and has become a self-professed expert on prostitutes. "It's a very, very ugly, degrading occupation," she told us.

Mobley can talk about the prostitution problem for hours. She just wants something done to clean up the streets for good. "It eats away at the moral fiber of a neighborhood."

"I used to live in California, visited Las Vegas, places like that," said Maharaj. "And Savannah is nothing like that. There is no prostitution here."

Maharaj may change his mind after he sees our next story. We went along with police as they busted prostitutes and their johns day and night.

And like Mobley said, there is nothing glamorous about what is going on. Many of these people are on the streets for one reason: to feed a habit.

Reported by: Don Logana, dlogana@wtoc.com

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