PHOTOS: One night on Seattle's prostitution strip | KUOW News and Information

PHOTOS: One night on Seattle's prostitution strip

Dec 30, 2015

Earlier this month, when photographer Mike Kane went looking for a Seattle woman to share her story of being a prostitute on Aurora Avenue North, he heard about Ericka Frodsham.

She was ready to tell her story, someone told Kane. She didn't have a phone, so she would have to call him. On the day they were supposed to meet, Frodsham, 36, had a run-in with police. She was devastated, worried she would miss him. 

But she made the appointment, and she showed Kane around Aurora. She also told him her story.

She had troubles as a young woman, she said, but she cleaned up and went to school. She became a nurse and had three kids. 

Read the Local Wonder story: Why Is There So Much Prostitution On Aurora Avenue? 

But she tired of the clean life, she said, and then she was fired for stealing pharmaceutical drugs. She lost custody of her daughters.  

Frodsham has had pimps before, she told Kane, but she's currently working alone. She lives in motels, earning enough during the day to pay for a night. She still uses drugs. 

Below are the photos Kane took that night. 

Ericka Frodsham, 36, gets ready on a recent night to walk Aurora Avenue North at the Aurora Commons. Frodsham is a long-time drug user and prostitute who lives and works on Aurora between North 86th and North 97th streets. Aurora Commons is a drop-in facility for the homeless.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

Frodsham, a former nurse, works on Aurora, north of North 85th Street. Aurora is one of two tracks for prostitution in the Seattle area -- the other is Pacific Highway South, where pimps sell young girls for sex.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Frodsham uses a window at the Aurora Commons, a drop-in center for homeless people.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Frodsham prepares for a night on Aurora. Frodsham works alone, which means she does not have a pimp. That allowed her to participate in this photo essay.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane
Condoms, cigarettes and gum clutter Frodsham's purse. Frodsham left prostitution years ago and became a nurse. But she said she became bored and returned to the streets. She lost custody of her children.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Frodsham stashes a plastic bag filled with her belongings in a friend's van. Many of the women who work this track hide their belongings because they are homeless. But stashing her stuff isn't always a sure bet. Her bags have been stolen multiple times.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

The day Frodsham was supposed to meet with photographer Mike Kane, she had been arrested and booked at the King County Jail. She was released in time to make her appointment.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Frodsham is one of 50 to 60 prostitutes who work on Aurora Avenue North, known as a track. This is one of two tracks where prostitutes work in the Seattle area.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Aurora Avenue North is known as Seattle's cheaper, more desperate track. Many of the women who work here are addicted to heroin.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

A motel room on Aurora. Many of the prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North are addicts, and many have pimps who control their every move. Those without pimps are often homeless and struggle to pay for a night at a cheap motel.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane

  

Women charge between $20 and $40 a trick, although when times are tough, they charge as little as $5. Men haggle on Aurora because they know the women are desperate.
Credit KUOW Photo/Mike Kane