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Why is there so much prostitution on Aurora Avenue in North Seattle? So when the pimp comes here with his girls, he comes to the track. Update: We photographed Ericka when she was a sex worker. This is her life now. The track is a stretch of road where prostitutes walk. Teen girls are pimped on Pacific Highway South; older women, many of them addicts, end up on Aurora. The wheels were set in motion for Aurora to become a place for pimping and prostitution in the s.
More people had cars, and the middle class wanted to get out and explore America. Roads like Aurora were paved so cars could speed out of town. Motels and filling stations popped up alongside. But this motor utopia declined. Jet travel replaced cars. Interstate 5 replaced Aurora. It became, in a general sort of way, a neighborhood that Seattleites viewed as seedy.
Aurora had always been transient, even in its heyday. With cheaper motels, it was the go-to place for pimps and prostitutes when police cracked down on prostitution in downtown Seattle in the s. On a recent rainy night, Sgt. Thomas Umporowicz drove up and down Aurora between North 90th and North th streets. Umporowicz heads the vice squad at the Seattle Police Department. His detectives are undercover, posing as johns.
Cheap motels are another reason prostitution thrives on Aurora. The older motels offer some of the cheapest lodging in the city. Others allow it passively, but others help the pimps. Police busted a motel like that earlier this year. Just driving by, they knew something was amiss. When Gomez and her best friend Miranda were 15, they both had what she called major issues at home. Then they met two men in a grocery store parking lot.
Plains, Trains And Those nice guys were pimps. One took Gomez, the other took Miranda. Unlike drugs, the girls were a renewable resource — the pimps could sell them again and again. Miranda later turned to heroin, which Gomez said happens a lot on Aurora. The johns know it too — and will offer even less money for sex because of it. For these women, life on Aurora becomes an endless cycle of getting just enough money to survive.