| | Advanced Search

 

NEW: Michael Graham Taking Conservative Talk Show to Atlanta—Headed for a warmer climate

NEW: Worcester’s Wormtown Brewery Wins Denver Int’l Beer Award—A major honor bestowed to a local brewery

Paul Giorgio: Elizabeth Warren is Right on Student Loans—MINDSETTER Paul Giorgio examines the student debt crisis

Central MA College Standout: Smith College’s Megan Baker—Spotlight on a bright student...

Organize + Energize: 7 Reasons to Hire a Professional Organizer—With a little help from your friends...

Rob Horowitz: The Civil Rights Act, 50 Years Later—Celebrating a milestone...

RE/MAX Reports 36.3% Increase in Pending MA Home Sales for March—Leading the region in pending home sales

College Admissions: 8 Ways Teens Can Explore Careers This Summer—Summer is the perfect time for students to…

Revs Return Home, Pick Up Crucial Win—The 2014 season had not started the way…

Monfredo: Worcester’s ‘City that Reads’ Book Drive Needs Your Help—Reading is a right, not a privilege

 
 

Worcester Task Force Targets City’s Prostitution

Monday, February 04, 2013

 

The Worcester Division of Public Health (WDPH) has assembled a task force featuring members from local law enforcement, the medical community, the city's colleges and community organizations in order to tackle Worcester's ongoing trouble with prostitution.

"There are long-running debates about the level of harm resulting from illegal commercial sex, and the approaches communities have used to end prostitution," WDPH Director Derek Brindisi in a report to the City Manager and Council.

"At one end of the spectrum is the position that prostitution is illegal and should only be treated as a crime. At the opposite end are arguments that prostitution involving adults is not victimless, inherently harmful and should be treated through a social context by providing the proper services to support the women who are being exploited."

An Old Problem

The WDPH prostitution task force first convened in October of 2012 in the wake of a report from the Worcester Police Department on the city's prostitution problem and develop approaches for moving forward.

According to that October report, about a dozen of the city's roughly 50 active prostitutes are working on a daily basis. A number of Worcester's other prostitutes are currently incarcerated, enrolled in drug rehabilitation programs or not active.

The report from Chief of Police Gary Gemme came in response to calls by members of the City Council for more action on the persistent problem, which is centered mainly around the city's Main South area.

As of the WPD's report, the city had arrested 210 males for attempting to purchase sex for a fee since 2007, about one-fifth of a total of nearly 1,000 arrests for prostitution-related offenses during the same period.

A September 2012 sting by the city's Vice Squad in the Main South area resulted in 16 arrests, and a July 19 operation netted five more.

At that time, City Manager Michael O'Brien said the City would be ramping up its efforts to reduce the chronic issue of prostitution by beginning a joint effort between the city's Division of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School to research long-term solutions for Worcester.

The Task Force's Focus

According to Brindisi that task force has been divided into five working groups to focus on the different aspects of the issue.

Communications will determine the most appropriate language for talking about prostitution, figure out who to develop a community-wide informational campaign and offer guidance on communication and messaging strategies.

The Working with Women group will conduct small focus groups and interviews in Worcester, as well as other so-called "strategic locations" where active and recovering women in prostitution gather.

"Talking with these women will provide a firsthand perspective as to the nature of the barriers to recovery and potential needed resources from the community," Brindisi said.

Law enforcement officials and attorneys will make up the Legal Aspect group, offering insights on the existing legal system, sting operations, which Worcester has already been engaging in, and any legal hurdles to social and support services.

Brindisi said the Community Engagement group will focus on holding neighborhood meetings to gain insight as to how prostitution and its attendant issues are affecting families in the neighborhoods where it is most prominent.

Finally, the Local and Best Practices group will review and analyze how effective current programs in Worcester are, such as Developing Alternatives for Women Now (DAWN) at the YWCA and the Community Approach to Reduce Demand (CARD). The group will also explore other programs nationally to look for proven and effective programs or strategies that may work for Worcester as well.

Action Steps Coming Soon

The full task force, which includes Brindisi, WDPH Acting Commissioner Dr. Michael Hirsh, District 4 City Councilor Sarai Rivera, members of the WPD, representatives of Community Healthlink and UMass Medical School and Clark University to name a few, will reconvene on February 11 when each working group will report its findings.

"This information will be discussed amongst the group in order to develop our next action steps, with an end goal of having a set of recommendations to you by May 1, 2013," Brindisi said.

"The Division of Public Health along with our many community partners are committed to developing a set of recommendations that will reduce demand, expand social and treatment services, with a goal of eliminating street level prostitution in Worcester." 

 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

Comments:

Iron Mike Farquhar

When Governors and Mayors are in political trouble - - say like 47,000 'missing' EBT families, – and $30 MILLION 'missing' from the welfare fund,...they ALWAYS focus your attention away from themselves by 'cleaning up our streets'.

It ~ might ~ make some sense if when the cops picked up the toots and their Johns – they determined if they are here legally, - and if they have an EBT card...

But this effort will be mere eyewash and smoke screen, - designed to take up space in the newspapers and web pages, - so you'll forget about those 47,000 MISSING EBT CARDHOLDERS.

Edward Saucier

Times are tough - good paying jobs are in demand - the City of Worcester and all the other hypocrites in the Untied States of America are extremely shortsighted, not to mention stupid, and continue to throw crap against the tide.

Prostitution, they say, is the oldest profession in the world. Does that tell the brainiacs anything? They won't stop it no matter what they do. Prostitution is not a victimless crime, in some places young women are forced into it. The sex trade is running rampant around the world and there is a way to stop all of that.

Legalize and regulate prostitution will surely raise revenue, decrease the crime level as well as STDs etc., etc. etc.. Legalized, Regulated Prostitution has many, many Pros and not many Cons.




Commenting is not available in this channel entry.