This article was originally published by Crosscut and is republished here with permission.
But in the face of a sharp spike in the amount of street-based sex work, service providers exceeding their capacity and intense pressure from North Seattle residents and businesses, the Seattle Police Department began moving away from the Nordic model last July — at least temporarily.
Edwards said it's either that or do nothing.
For one, the amount of sex work on Aurora has increased dramatically, according to police and outreach workers. Edwards said a lot of that was driven by the federal shutdown of Back, a website where sex workers and buyers once connected.
Officers also have noticed an uptick in people coming from California to work in Seattle, said Edwards, although he was unsure why. As the amount of sex work has increased, so has community pressure on the department to do something.
Finally, said Edwards, the diversion programs the police department once leaned on so heavily as an alternative to arrest are at capacity. That leaves the department to choose between immediately turning people back onto the street or booking them into jail, said Edwards. The jail is always open.
Most of the bookings are not getting charged, he said, estimating fewer than 10 this summer. David Kroman is a staff reporter at Crosscut focused on local politics.
High Country News at [ protected] or submit a letter to the editor. A woman walks down the rd block of Aurora Avenue North in Seattle, during the late evening hours of Oct. Cars move north and south along the rd block of Aurora Avenue North in Seattle, during the late evening hours of Oct. Stay up to date on the West with our free newsletter.
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