The City of Oakland on Thursday claimed a small victory in its fight against prostitution after a troubled hotel in East Oakland known for illicit activites was sold under court order.
The city attorney has been leading the effort to shut down the National Lodge Hotel on International Boulevard.
KTVU spoke with community members who were handing out flyers offering help to young women and children who have been lured into human sex trafficking.
It was still light out on Thursday night when KTVU saw several women -- at least who one may have been a minor -- walking the streets just steps from the hotel that once was a hub for prostitution.
The name of the National Lodge Hotel is now covered, but the city attorney's office told KTVU it uncovered an overwhelming amount of evidence of prostitution to convince Alameda County Superior Court to shut it down.
Some area activists called it an important victory.
"It's huge," said Mattie Johnson of Allen Temple Baptist Church.
The Allen Temple Baptist Church has taken on the mission of helping young women and children trapped in prostitution by offering basics living necessities. Two outreach workers told KTVU that shutting down the National Lodge is a good first step, but more needs to be done.
"There is no place for them. The emergency housing is almost always full," said Johnson.
The women said they'd like the city to transform these type of hotels into safe houses. Their street outreach work is personal.
Sheila Warren, another Allen Temple Baptist Church Street Disciple, said she had a relative who was sexually abused as a child and later died an addict.
"This is my way of saying who she was. It really pains me," said Warren.
The property has been sold to two Oakland business owners. They said they plan to tear down the hotel and build a strip mall with office space on top and restaurants on the bottom.
The city attorney's office said it is monitoring other businesses suspected of prostitution activities and hopes to shut them down too when it gets enough evidence.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.