Cleveland community at odds over how to handle a prostitution problem

Prostitution in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - People are at odds about how to fix a prostitution problem in the Detroit Shoreway area.

An online a group is filling Facebook with pictures of women they believe are part of the problem.

However, the councilman of the district says the group’s efforts are not helping.

Residents are posting pictures of women they say are prostituting themselves near Lorain and 68th Street. They want to bring awareness to the problem— but others say posting pictures is not going to solve anything. What do you think?

Posted by Hannah Catlett on Friday, August 23, 2019

Jason Hauser is one of the people posting pictures of women he believes are prostitutes.

“Right or wrong, it’s bringing attention to it,” Hauser said. “We have called the police sometimes, but it just kind of falls on deaf ears.”

For example, in one of the pictures you can see a woman in a blue dress talking with the driver of a car.

Then, the same woman is in the same area at the side of a truck.

“It’s these same girls over and over again,” Hauser said.

Hauser said he started the page when he saw a “disgusting act” happening in the parking lot where he works.

A school right across the street.

Hauser is hoping knowing the people are being photographed at the corner of Lorain Avenue and 67th street will scare them off.

“I’m not here to care about what anybody thinks,” he said. “I’m here to try to get it off my street.”

Councilman Matt Zone says Hauser’s method is not the right way to go about solving the problem, though.

“I am hoping that the victimization of these women will stop,” Zone said.

Zone said the problem is there is no way to know for sure if any of the women are really committing the crime. 19 News has concealed the faces of the women in our story.

“They’re being victimized by their pimp. They’re being victimized by their johns, and now you have an individual posting their picture on the page, further victimizing,” Zone said.

We reached out to Cleveland police, they say detectives are working to enforce prostitution related crimes in the area.

Zone says during the last two years, his district has worked hard to host food drives, provide outreach to these women and discuss the problem as a community.

“There’s more proactive ways to bring attention to this problem than to belittle and dehumanize,” Zone said. "These are human beings.

“I’m not here to dehumanize these women. I’m not. I just want it brought to attention,” Hauser said,

Councilman Zone wanted to make sure anyone who needs resources, knows where to find them.

The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Project STAR has a 24/7 hotline. The number is 855-431-7827.

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