Babies on the blade: ‘Diamond’ speaks out on police and young prostitutes

by Apollonia Jordan

“Police are some of our best customers,” stated Diamond, 29, as we sat and talked near the El Polo Loco restaurant on 24th and East 14th Street in Oakland. I’ve been knowing Diamond since I was 16 years old. We met while living together in a group home near Daly City. Diamond is one of the many names she goes by while working as a prostitute now in cities throughout the Bay Area.

Since the Clinton era destruction of the safety net that provided public housing, “welfare,” low college tuition and other programs, many young women have had little choice but “the life.” No photo of Diamond is being published to protect her safety and privacy.
Since the Clinton era destruction of the safety net that provided public housing, “welfare,” low college tuition and other programs, many young women have had little choice but “the life.” No photo of Diamond is being published to protect her safety and privacy.

We lived together in a group home for a minute until, one night, Diamond went AWOL (absent without leave) and I didn’t see her for about five years. When I ran into her again, she was in the life, working what she called “the blade,” had a pimp and was using cocaine to help, as she says, “ease the pain.”

Diamond is not her real name, but the name that she now goes by working as a prostitute. She had been placed in her first group home at the age of 13. Prior to that, she had been sexually molested by a friend of her father, who was like an uncle to her.

After being placed in a foster home, Diamond claims she was molested many times by her foster parent’s older birth son. Many years of abuse led her to finally run away from her foster home.

When she was captured by CPS, she was placed in the group home where we met. Now five years clean, but still working on online and sometimes on the blade – the street, also known as the strip, where ladies of the night go to sell their bodies for money – Diamond opens up about her life.

With the recent Bay Area police sex scandal, involving the sexual exploitation of Celeste Guap, much of it when she was a minor, it is important for victims of sexual violence to speak out! Here is Diamond’s story:

Apollonia: Hi, Diamond, it’s so good to see you. How has life been?

Diamond: Life is life, girl, ya know? You just gotta take it day by day and pray that you make it and that you live to see another day.

Apollonia: Tell me about how you got involved in the life of prostitution.

Diamond: I was molested from the age of 6 to 12 by one of my father’s closest friends. My parents suffered from drug abuse and had themselves been in the life. My mother was my father’s bottom, the prostitute at the top rank, who often oversees the other prostitutes and collects the money.

After having me, my father went to prison for murder and my mom fell heavy into using crack cocaine. During her addiction is when I began to be molested by a person I knew to be my uncle. He was someone I loved and trusted and thought that he loved me. At the time, I didn’t know I was being molested, but I did know that, in my mind, it wasn’t right.

The abuse began when I was 6. I told my mother a few times during the years, but she was too involved in her addiction to either believe me or care.

One day, when I was 13, my mother came in the house with a man who I had seen in the house many times and sat me on the couch with him. My mother went into the other room and he molested me. My guess is that my mother rented me out to this man.

That night I ran away and slept at a friend’s house. I was able to sneak by sleeping in my friend’s closet for about a month, until her mother caught me one night when she saw one of my arms hanging out the closet.

The abuse began when I was 6. I told my mother a few times during the years, but she was too involved in her addiction to either believe me or care.

After that, I was sent to a group home. For many years I was very promiscuous, due to being molested at such a young age. I had sex at school, in the movies, at the park – wherever I wanted.

I began dating this guy who was like 25 when I was 17. At the time, I didn’t know he was a pimp, but after he persuaded me to run away from my group home, I quickly learned he was a monster.

I ran away from the group home thinking we were in love and he began first selling me to his friends and then he put me on the blade, but they called it the strip or the stroll back then. He had cops in his family and knew many police around the Bay Area.

At the age of 18, he began tricking me out to the police in Oakland, San Francisco and Richmond. He would beat me and the officers would see me with Black eyes and not care. I had sex with a lot of them and for some reason I felt safe with them even though I knew they were corrupt.

At the age of 18, he began tricking me out to the police in Oakland, San Francisco and Richmond. He would beat me and the officers would see me with Black eyes and not care.

Apollonia: Are you willing to give me the names of the officers?

Diamond: Officer Rivera, Officer Johnson and Officer Sanchez were a few of my regulars. I believed they worked for the Oakland and Richmond police at the time. They could be working anywhere now.

Apollonia: Are you comfortable with naming first names?

Diamond: No, I’m afraid for my safety. I still have to work and live out here to survive.

I commend Celeste for her bravery to be able to point out the officers who solicited sex with her, but there is a sense of security when it comes to having them as customers. They put you on to prostitution stings, let you go if you give them what they want, and protect you when pimps try to make you choose.

Apollonia: Do you have a pimp now? How often and how many Bay Area officers do you believe solicit sex on the street and do you think they do it while on duty?

Diamond: Girl, yes! I have had sexual encounters with officers many times while they were on duty with uniform and hat on. Police are some of our best customers, both on and off duty.

I developed friendships or whatever you want to call it with them. A few times, late at night while Officer Sanchez was walking the beat, I would hide and sleep in the back seat of his patrol car. He’d return, we’d hit a cut somewhere, do our thang, and I’d go home instead of going to jail that night.

I was being robbed of my body and my youth by officers who were sworn to protect me, but it was worth not going to jail because jail meant that I would lose the freedom that I had fought for so many years to obtain. In my dysfunctional mind, that was a free life, but it wasn’t; I was paying with my mind, body and soul.

I have had sexual encounters with officers many times while they were on duty with uniform and hat on. Police are some of our best customers, both on and off duty.

I don’t have a pimp right now. I am working for myself. I ran away from that guy after he beat me and had both my eyes swollen shut. I thought my face would never go back the same. He was murdered about a year after that.

Since then, I’ve been on my own. I still have officers who are customers and a bunch of officers are involved in this type of behavior. When the shit hits the fan, a lot of police are going to lose their badges.

I’m working towards changing my life. I just enrolled in college in the fall and I plan to leave this life alone. I’ve been off drugs for over three years now and I am seriously trying to stop prostituting. However, my lack of work experience and education doesn’t give me much options, and the government won’t help me much because I don’t have any children.

I’m working part time at a fast food place, but it doesn’t cover the bills. After getting my training, I hope one day that I can stop living this crazy life. I started going to church and I now know that I was the victim. But now I am a victor, which is why I wanted to tell my story.

Apollonia: What advice would you give that little girl who may be out there going through what you went through in life? How would you encourage them to transfer their pain into progression?

Diamond: I would tell those little girls out there to forgive the person who has hurt them. Don’t carry that hurt, anger and vengeance in your heart. That anger will eat at your soul and turn you into someone you never want to become.

I’d encourage them to tell someone at school or a counselor about the abuse that they are going through and I would tell them that this is not the life that they want to live. I have been raped, shot, stabbed, hit in the head with pistols and glass bottles, and even thrown out of a moving car – all by a person who I thought loved me.

I’d encourage them to tell someone at school or a counselor about the abuse that they are going through and I would tell them that this is not the life that they want to live.

Learn from what I went through and please don’t do it. Also, I’d tell them that all police are not good guys. I think society likes to brainwash children into believing officers can do no wrong. I would tell them not to trust a person solely because they wear a badge and a uniform.

Bay Area journalist and longtime Bay View writer Apollonia Jordan can be reached at apollonia@sfbayview.com.