prostitution

View from the future 1 Divine Line 2 Health drop-in center.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

A red van with cartoon decal is parked along the side of a road in the Hilltop. Several women gather outside the van, taking turns to approach for items like clothing and some donuts donated by a local bakery. 

The Supreme Court kicked off a second day of telephone arguments Tuesday with a case that mingles sex, the HIV/AIDS epidemic and free speech.

At issue is whether the government can require private nonprofits to denounce prostitution in order to qualify for U.S foreign aid grants aimed at fighting the worldwide AIDS epidemic. This is the second time the court has faced this issue, but this time it comes with a twist.

Reducing Demand For Prostitution

Mar 3, 2020
CATCH Court graduate Melissa Callaway hugs her sister.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

A new push by local and state officials would levy higher fines and possible new charges on those who solicit sex.

Acting Deputy Columbus Police Chief Jennifer Knight oversees the PACT team, which replaced the controversial Vice Unit.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Columbus Police's Vice Unit made a lot of mistakes during its heyday, says Acting Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight.

Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) says a new bill in the Ohio Statehouse would increase penalties for johns and pimps.
Ohio House

Ohio lawmakers are proposing a new bill to bring tougher penalties against people who recruit and force others into prostitution, as well as the "johns" who pay for it.

CATCH Court graduate Melissa Callaway hugs her sister.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Graduates walked into the atrium of the Ohio Statehouse, greeted by cheers from their friends and loved ones. One by one, they step up to the microphone.

“I spent 37 years of my life a homeless drug addict, a victim of human trafficking on the streets of Columbus,” says Barb Davis. “I truly knew it was my destiny to die out there.”

Sunflower Asian Spa was shut down by the city in April. The City Attorney's Office claims the massage business was a front for human trafficking.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

“NO SEX SERVICE!!!!!” screams a sign outside the now-shuttered Sunflower Asian Spa. Yet that's exactly the reason why the city of Columbus shut down the spa in early April.

Sex work is illegal in much of the United States, but the debate over whether it should be decriminalized is heating up.

Former California Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing it, as long as it's between two consenting adults.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

A Florida police chief has announced that Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, will face charges of soliciting prostitution after he was caught on surveillance video allegedly in the midst of a sexual act.

Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr announced the charges on Friday as part of a sting on a local spa suspected of human trafficking and potential money laundering.

Columbus Ohio Police Ford Interceptor Utility / Wikimedia Commons

A Columbus Police officer who was relieved of duty after offering to pay a woman for sex is back at work.

The city of Dayton recently announced a new program designed to reduce demand for prostitution with 21st century tools. The initiative uses digital technology and social media to target people convicted of trying to buy sex. The new campaign is called the Buyer's Remorse initiative.

Officials say it modernizes the city’s longstanding practice of publishing the names and home addresses of people convicted of trying to hire prostitutes.

Under the new program, the city will now publish that information online on a newly created website: buyersremorsecampaign.com.

Brenda Troy stands in front of New Salem church on Cleveland Avenue. New Salem’s Anti-Human Trafficking Ministry worked with the Vice Unit on an initiative called the "Linden Model."
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Cleveland Avenue stretches from downtown Columbus northward. It’s the main road through Linden, a high crime, low-income neighborhood. The sun sets as Brenda Troy and Donna Hitcho from New Salem Church walk down the street, looking for sex workers.

KRForbesPhotography/SURJ Columbus

SURJ Columbus is helping host a rally and vigil Thursday night for a woman fatally shot by a Columbus Police officer last week.

Jenn Glaser lay in bed with a severe pain in her right hip. In the last few days a large abscess had developed under her skin--an infection from injecting drugs. 

A federal grand jury in Arizona has indicted seven people behind the classified-ads website Backpage.com on 93 counts, including charges of facilitating prostitution and money laundering.

The defendants include founders Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68, as well as other shareholders and employees. The indictment accuses the executives of presenting Backpage as a site to advertise escort services while knowing that "the overwhelming majority of the website's ads involve prostitution." The indictment says the site made over $500 million in "prostitution-related revenue."

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