By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
Cops nab a suspect for soliciting.

Police are cracking down on prostitution. With 12 new officers in Waikiki, arrests are up. Officer 'Emily' may appear to be turning tricks, but the trick's on potential customers

By Jaymes K. Song

"Emily" looks out to the brightly lit, buzzing street, awaiting her next customer.

Cars, buses and trolleys roar down Kalakaua Avenue as hundreds of people pass her by.

Some give her a stare. A dirty look. A rude comment.

Others avoid making any contact with her.

But a "date" with Emily is one of costliest around -- $500 and a trip to jail.

Emily, whose name has been changed to shield her identity, is a policewoman who poses as a Waikiki prostitute in "reverse-sting" operations.

Conducted by the Honolulu Police Department, the operations target "johns" who proposition sex acts for money.

"People judge me, thinking they can have me for $100," she said. "And they treat you like crap. Little do they know, they have to bail out for $500. That's kind of fun."

9:07 p.m., Thursday, Waikiki Police Substation

Sgt. James McGhee receives notice that his "reverse-sting" crew just arrested a 54-year-old tourist from Israel for apparently soliciting Emily. The man, coincidentally, is the same person that a tour group reported missing earlier.

9:45 p.m., in a parking lot off the 2000 block of Kalakaua.

McGhee, who has 24 years with the department, meets up with his team: Emily, and plain-clothes officers Rick Orton, Chris Park and Keith Perry.

The officers tell him a second arrest has been made, a 17-year-old Kalihi boy. Found in his pockets was medication for his venereal disease.

10 p.m., 2000 block of Kalakaua Avenue.

Emily, dressed in a fitted animal-print mini-dress, high heels and a shiny hand bag, walks to the mauka side of Kalakaua Avenue and waits for a john.

The male officers set up across the street where they have a good view of Emily and could quickly get to the scene.

McGhee said it takes a special officer to endure the humiliation of being a prostitute.

"It's kind of degrading to them to hear the comments from the other ladies," he said. "You can't explain what you are doing. You can't get upset by that."

Emily, 27, who recently graduated from the police academy, was picked for her appearance and her professionalism. Her tall, thin build helps her "blend in" with the prostitutes, McGhee said.

The current rate for sex in Waikiki is about $200 to $300, he said. Japanese tourists usually use credit cards and are willing to pay more. On a busy night, one prostitute can make more than 10 "dates."

10:15 p.m.

A group of four men from Japan start talking with Emily. Three of them walk away but the fourth, in a green shirt, lags behind.

The three call for their friend to join them. He then leaves her.

The ground rules for Emily: never approach men, never discuss sex or money, never lead them on.

McGhee said she can make an arrest only when the man solicits a sexual act for any amount of money. Money does not have to exchange hands for an arrest.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
A Japanese tourist is handcuffed after soliciting
an undercover officer for sex in Waikiki.

Several prostitutes walk up to Emily and start conversing.

Emily said the prostitutes usually inform her what's happening on the streets and who is harming them.

10:27 p.m.

Two men from the group of four that visited Emily earlier, come back.

The man in the green shirt converses with Emily again, then walks away.

"A nibble, no bite," said Park.

Orton, a seven-year veteran of the force, said he enjoys his job.

"I like making a small difference," he said. "The tourism industry is so important. I just want to make Waikiki a nicer place for tourists to visit."

11:03 p.m.

The foot traffic and the flame from the torches that line the streets, start dying.

Store lights start shutting off; the entire area gets dimmer.

Two male tourists from Australia start talking to Emily.

Seven minutes later, one leaves, but the other stays to harass Emily.

He starts trying to touch her and asks for a kiss. She denies him.

He asks Emily to go back to his hotel room, but does not say what for and does not offer money. Not a violation of laws.

McGhee immediately calls Emily on her cellular phone, but it's off.

"He's too close," he said, adding that he wanted her to walk away from him. "Most importantly, is officer safety. I don't want to let them get in a position to get hurt."

The man then leaves disappointedly with no kiss.

11:20 p.m.

A 27-year-old man from Japan starts talking to Emily in Japanese.

On her cellular phone, she calls Orton, who is fluent in Japanese, for translations of what the man is saying. The man tells her that he "is safe."

He continues to converse with her in Japanese. But the only English word he can say is "sex." Orton listens in.

The man finally proposes $70 to her for "manual sex" or masturbation.

Emily gives the officers a signal that the crime has been committed and they rush over.

They escort the man to an alley, not cuffing him on the main street to avoid drawing attention to the arrest.

Orton and Park hold the victim by the back of his pants and escort him to an awaiting police car.


McGhee declares the operation over.

Emily will now return to the station for at least two hours to type up the three arrest reports.

"People think prostitutes aren't hurting anyone, but they do," Emily said. "They steal from the guys, assault and rob them."

One of the most memorable arrests for Emily was a man who was on his honeymoon. His wife of 12 days was sleeping in their hotel room when he propositioned Emily.

"I felt so bad for the wife," she said. "I just thought, 'what a jerk.' "

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