Dayton, Ohio, Police Officers Arrest Increasing Number of HIV-Positive Sex Workers
Police officials in Dayton, Ohio, are hoping to create the city's first rehabilitation center for commercial sex workers, following a reported increase in HIV-positive sex workers arrested in 2008, the Dayton Daily News reports. According to the Daily News, 12 sex workers, including two men, arrested last year were HIV-positive, up from "less than a handful" in 2006 and 2007, police said. Lt. Brian Johns said that it is the largest increase he has seen in his 10 years of service.
Johns is leading talks with not-for-profit centers and leaders of safe houses in other cities in an effort to garner funding and the social services needed to operate the center. "Many of these women are prostituting because they are addicted to drugs and need the money," Chief Richard Biehl said, adding, "We need to get them into an environment where they see the benefits of being clean." According to Johns, he hopes that talks will generate funding ideas and Dayton is considering applying for federal stimulus funds to start the center. "It's a problem that has to be addressed because prostitution affects the entire community," Biehl said, adding, "There is a quality of life issue here, along with the general welfare of citizens in areas where prostitution is a problem" (Sullivan, Dayton Daily News, 3/14).