The Undercover Files: Vice

An anonymous IMPD detective speaks with IM about posing as a prostitute.

Most of the training for posing as a prostitute occurs on the job. We work the whole city, although the best fishing hole is East Washington Street. Dressing for the part is nothing like Pretty Woman. The majority of street women are crackheads, so we need to look that way. The guys around here are looking for trashy. I wear old, worn-out pants—I’ll even rub them around in the dirt. I’ll smudge my makeup, or maybe ruin my manicure. The idea is to look hard-luck, not sexy.
I first went out in 2007, and I was nervous. But most of the guys get straight to the point. I’ve had my first proposition within 30 seconds of arriving at the corner. The offenders range from homeless people to attorneys. Usually, Hispanic guys will just say, “Business?” The rest ask me if I want a date or need a ride. Then they want to know how much, and the going rate is about $20 for head and $30 for sex. After they make a proposition, I’ll give a signal. There’s always a support officer in the area to pull up and arrest them.
We do escort cases as well. One of the more unusual ones involved a Realtor who had posted an ad for a nanny, but he wanted to see naked photos first. So I sent him some fake photos. He told me he was going to pay me $1,600 a week, and I was going to live in his 9,000-square-foot house. All I had to do was take care of his kids—and have sex with him. I met him at Starbucks, and he made it clear what he wanted. When I gave the signal, two other officers walked up and arrested him. People think johns aren’t hurting anyone, but they’re part of the criminal cycle.
—As told to Daniel S. Comiskey
The Undercover Files continue here.
This article appeared in the March 2013 issue.