Published in Oakland Tribune, May 29, 2012

OAKLAND — Hundreds of families, merchants and residents are expected to come out Friday night to rally against prostitution in the San Antonio and Eastlake neighborhoods.

The 6 p.m. rally at 17th Avenue and International Boulevard will include remarks from Mayor Jean Quan, City Attorney Barbara Parker, Police Chief Howard Jordan and City Councilmember Pat Kernighan.

Organizers are calling for an end to the prostitution and exploitation of minors along International Boulevard between 2nd and 23rd avenues, one of the most dangerous parts of the city. They say they want a strategy to fight prostitution — one that involves community-police partnerships, more targeting of “johns” and pimps and more services for girls and women who are victims of sexual exploitation.

Some progress has been made in the last year. More than 20 security cameras were installed along International Boulevard, and the Oakland school district has trained more than 100 staff members to recognize when a student may be at risk for sexual exploitation.

In addition, a judge is expected to rule soon on a case brought by Parker that would temporarily close two motels in the area suspected of allowing prostitution and child sex trafficking on their property.

The event is sponsored by the East Bay Asian Youth Center, Oakland Community Organizations, and the San Antonio Merchants, which represents more than 1,800 people and businesses in the two neighborhoods.