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'Sex workers are now emboldened' | National City prostitution out of control

SB 357 repealed a law that bans loitering for sex work in California.

SAN DIEGO — National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis says California Senate Bill 357, the bill that repealed anti-loitering laws for the intent to sell sex in California, is creating serious unintended consequences in National City. 

"Even driving home myself, when I see a scantily clad woman, literally pasties and a thong, I can only imagine what that person is feeling,” said Sotelo-Solis.

SB 357 won’t officially go into effect until next year. 

“Because it's already signed, law enforcement’s hands are already tied. But it's also the boldness in the summertime. The human trafficked and the johns are already taking advantage of it," said Sotelo-Solis. "They’re working from 10 in the morning to the lunchtime hour to right when work gets out and it's frustrating. It's not so much, 'Hey, we can't do anything.' It's more of, 'Now what are we supposed to do?' And people are getting more bold."

CBS 8’s crew canvassed the area around National City Boulevard, just blocks away from City Hall and spoke with residents and business owners who admitted, the prostitution is a growing problem again. 

One business owner says they leave pamphlets, hand sanitizer, and masks out to try and encourage the sex workers to pursue other paths in life.

Peter Crivello’s family has run Napoleon’s Pizza in National City for five generations. 

Crivello says he’s seen the problem first-hand. 

"The track, everyone knows, is Roosevelt Avenue all the way over to Main. So, that's what they do. You have the Navy base, you have all the semi's parked on Roosevelt," said Crivello. "The biggest problem that I see is tying the police officers hands of what they can do. It's not just prostitution. It's drugs and everything else that goes with it, so I'm sick of seeing it. If they (the police) can't do much, what deters them from stopping? There is no repercussion. They might get busted on the street one day and they're right back out the next." 

Crivello warns this could really hurt the economic growth National City has been seeing in recent years.  

"You can put as much paint on a building as you want but if you're not changing what's happening on the street, then new businesses are not coming in," said Crivello.

WATCH RELATED: Business owners in Barrio Logan complain prostitution is rampant (August 2022)

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