L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez ventures out to his city’s skid row, reporting on the squalor and sadness he sees there. This week his column focuses on one corner where prostitutes live in porta-potties and offer oral sex for $5 or $10 so that they can buy the drugs they’re addicted to.
Lopez doesn’t get in to policy issues here, but articles like this should make us ask, How can we improve this situation? The war on drugs isn’t working. Arresting these women for prostitution isn’t going to help them. Punitive legal methods simply aren’t effective here. What, then, is a reasonable — and practical — solution?