Featured on KTVU, August 5, 2011

OAKLAND, Calif. — Many Oakland residents and community activists unveiled a billboard on International Boulevard Thursday that is part of their effort to drive prostitution out of their neighborhood by warning Johns to stay away.

In one half hour late Thursday afternoon, KTVU crews saw two dozen prostitutes working the street.

One woman who called herself “Cream” said she was working the streets to pay the bills.

She said she’s 21 years old and a single mother, with no high school diploma and no job skills. “Cream” said she has part-time retail job but it’s not enough to support her two young children.

On the streets she said she can make $50 dollars on a slow day and $300 on a good day.

So far, she’s managed to work without a pimp and she protects herself mace and sometimes a knife.

Thursday night, neighbors fed up with the prostitution that has taken over their streets, marched to call attention to the problem.

They vowed to call the police when they see Johns and prostitutes.

Too often, they said their children are witnessing what they call sexploitation right in front of their homes.

Chanda May lives in the neighborhood and is a case manager who counsels prostitutes. “There is no alternative program or any kind of job training program for these young girls,” she said.

Cream said prostitution is a last resort and said she tried to get a GED but failed the test three times.

Neighbors said they consider the prostitutes victims but that they can’t stand by and allow their exploitation to continue without trying to stop it.