Hidden Cam: Prostitutes Work Outside Elementary School

By Chris Glorioso
|  Thursday, May 12, 2011  |  Updated 11:33 AM EDT
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Prostitutes work in broad daylight outside a Bronx school, and parents are outraged.

Prostitutes work in broad daylight outside a Bronx school, and parents are outraged.

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Prostitutes are advertising their services -- and have even performed sex acts -- outside an elementary school in the Bronx, and NBC New York has hidden camera footage of one woman offering sex for sale in broad daylight.

"I charge $20 for a ***** and $30 for a *****," the woman says, using slang to describe her menu of sex acts.

Parents say they have become used to women selling sex in plain view of their children -- including, at one point, a tent set up for men and women to use right there on the spot.

"The kids could see it," said Vanessa Hernandez, mother of a 6-year-old girl at the school. "The kids would stand there and point to it."

After months of complaints, the city fenced off the outdoor area where the tent was located, but the school remains a magnet for prostitutes who either get into clients' cars or take them to nearby apartments.

"It is just really disturbing to see that these things are happening so blatantly. You see it in the footage,” said New York Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, who represents the neighborhood around the school. “There is no regard for the safety or the respect of these children and these families.”

Along with State Sen. Ruben Diaz, Crespo has co-sponsored a bill that would significantly strengthen penalties against prostitutes, johns and pimps who buy and sell sex within 1,000 feet of a school.

The proposed law is modeled after drug-free school zones.

"In this case we’re extending that concept to a higher penalty for any sort of prostitution-related crimes around schools," Crespo said.

The New York State Senate passed the bill Tuesday.

If the Legislature passes it, prostitutes and their clients who are caught near schools could be charged with a Class E felony.

Pimps near schools would be subject to an even tougher charge, a Class C felony.

When NBC New York asked the prostitute captured on camera why she chose a school as home base for her illegal activities, she said she makes sure kids don't witness any sexual activity.

"That's the whole thing -- you're not supposed to do stuff in front of the kids," she said.

Asked whether a narcotics habit led her to the profession, the woman avoided discussion of hard drugs.

"I have bills to pay," she said. "I smoke marijuana."

Many parents support the idea of a prostitution-free school zone, but they aren't counting on immediate change.

"That's why I'm taking my kids out of here," said Alex Liiz, as he waited to pick up his daughter.

Manny Carvajal said his kids see the prostitutes, but they are too young to understand what is going on.

"I'm trying to get them out of this school before they reach that age," he said.

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