Cincinnati Union Bethel, a non-profit social services agency, started an “Off the Streets” program in April to help women break out of the cycle of selling sex, feeding drug habits, and answering to pimps, reports USA Today. Off the Streets provides prostitutes with counseling. It offers them support, something many haven’t had since they first sold themselves. It provides advice on careers and a place to live. Newcomers talk to women who successfully left “the life.”
It began after criminal justice leaders started searching for a way to reduce prostitution arrests. Fourteen years ago, Norma Hotaling started SAGE (Standing Against Global Exploitation) in San Francisco after being in and out of jail more than 30 times on various prostitution, drug and petty theft charges. Cincinnati is the fifth city to emulate the program. St. Paul’s version is called Breaking Free. Phoenix has Dignity House. Kansas City has Veronica’s Closet, and Fresno has Marjaree Mason Center. Boston, Seattle and San Diego are looking to start programs, Hotaling said. Cincinnati police Capt. Howard Rahtz says prostitution is second only to drugs as a top complaint of neighborhood leaders in the city.