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Residents Speak Out On Problem Following Prostitution Crackdown

Reported: May. 7, 2014 11:27 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Dan Matics) -- After a recent prostitution crackdown in Huntington, people who have dealt with the region's problem are speaking out on how to curb the problem.

Jeff Jordan said he has seen quite a bit in his years living on and off the streets.

"They just turn to drugs," Jordan said. "Then one thing leads to another, and they start selling their bodies."

Jordan said, a few years ago, he lost a friend to a career of prostitution.

"It kind of made me sad to see what she did,” he said. “She'd just have sex with anybody $15, $20 whatever it would take."

It's a lifestyle that Terry Collison fights to keep these women away from, every day.

Collison is the director of First Steps Wellness and Recovery Center, located in the same neighborhood where police have stepped up prostitution stings.

"It's heartbreaking," Collison said. "We know some of the girls."

Their goal: Give the homeless and recovering drug addicts the resources they need for a fresh start.

However, Collison said it’s a cycle that is hard to break.

"If you don’t have the skills it takes to find a job, some people don’t have a choice and an active addiction makes it tough,” he said.

Addiction experts said, in most cases, they prostitute themselves to support a drug habit.

Kim Miller, of Prestera Recovery Center, said more often than not, the court system doesn't cure the problem.

“You can’t scare a disease out of someone," Miller said.

Miller said while cleaning up the streets is important, police cant arrest their way out of the problem.

"Work on her motivation, start rehabbing her life,” she said. “There's no girl who wants to live that life.”

For more information, visit Prestera Center’s website.



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