CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Residents in one West Side neighborhood say the attention 19 News helped bring to their prostitution problem is helping big time.
Undercover Cleveland police disrupted a prostitution ring on the city’s West Side Tuesday.
Nine men were arrested in the sting that unfolded along West 65th Street.
They were charged with soliciting prostitution.
“The Division of Police has received complaints regarding prostitution activity in this area in recent months. Prostitution activity greatly impacts quality of life for residents living in the affected areas and is also commonly paired with other criminal activity including drug abuse and trafficking,” Cleveland Police Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said.
“We want to drive this activity out of our neighborhoods and it starts with going after the johns. It is the johns who are creating the demand for this illegal activity,” said Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone. “I encourage individuals who are involved in sex trafficking to contact the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center Project STAR 24-hour hotline: 855-431-STAR (7827).”
A man named Jason works in the area and began shedding light on the illegal activity after he saw a sexual act unfolding in a parking lot, across the street from a West Side school.
Jason appealed to News last week seeking help, after he says his pleas were falling on deaf ears.
Now, he says the city is finally paying attention.
“It surprised me that they really got up and did something,” he said. “This area has been infested with prostitution for 20 or 30 years.”
We’re waiting to hear back if police plan to continue similar stings in the area.
19 News discovered last week that a Cleveland police detective owns a run-down property on Lorain Avenue, and neighbors say its porch is an easily accessible place for prostitutes to wait for business.
Return to 19 News for updates on this developing story.