Kristen DiAngelo and Pearl Callahan are experts at finding prostitutes.
And it’s no wonder why.
Onetime sex workers themselves, the close friends struggled to leave the life before segueing into second careers as advocates for the community to which they belonged.
I met both women in 2013, while researching a cover story about unreported attacks against sex workers. They were exceedingly generous with their own stories, but could also trace street-level experiences to their place in the larger socioeconomic and political schemes. That’s like manna to a reporter. (Which shouldn’t have been a surprise, as DiAngelo had directed a documentary on the lives of escorts.)
I kept in semi-regular touch after that, checking in whenever something shifted in society’s response to the world’s oldest profession. Then, last summer, there was a tectonic tremor. In June 2014, federal authorities raided an online escort service that many sex workers used to screen out predators and bad dates. I asked DiAngelo what impacts she anticipated from myRedBook’s shutdown. They weren’t good.
On May 9, I joined both women as they conducted outreach along a 9-mile stretch of Stockton Boulevard, where they say the increase in street sex work has been most sharply felt.
While SN&R’s cover story on Sacramento’s growing “red light district” officially hits stands July 2, here are some video clips from that Saturday night tour (forgive the visual quality).
DiAngelo (right) describes what it’s like to encounter underage sex workers:
Callahan (left) explains why working together can be safer for sex workers: