Cleveland Police are taking action against prostitutes, and their customers, who frequent the city’s west side, but neighbors say more needs to be done.
On November 13, police arrested 9 people, including four women and five men, after police say they solicited undercover officers for sex. Two cars were also towed. Cops targeted Detroit Avenue between West 45th Street and West 83rd Street and Lorain Avenue between West 50th and West 80th streets.
One woman, who was too afraid to reveal her identity, said the problem is so bad along Lorain Avenue, she and her daughters are approached by johns frequently.
“It’s scary for me. It’s scary for my daughters,” she said. “It’s pretty scary when a guy comes up to you and is trying to get you in their car.”
One bar on Lorain even posted a “No Public Restrooms” sign on the front door to keep prostitutes out.
November’s sting is far from first and it won't be the last, say victims’ advocates like Renee Jones, who runs the Renee Jones Empowerment Center on West 65th Street.
“You can order somebody up just like you're ordering a pizza,” Jones said.
Jones and her teams hit the streets at night with care packages to encourage women to seek help. As of last year, those services also included the court system, where prostitution has its own docket.
“Instead of being treated as criminals, they are now being treated as victims,” Jones said, “And that means that they are offered services that can help them get their lives restored.”
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