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But a closer look reveals something much darker. Easy access to highways and busy commercial trade make the city a hub for illegal activity.
"We're in the south central part of Dallas," Dallas Police Lt. Mike Coleman said.
"We're very close to one of the major truck stops. There's hotels; there's a lot of traffic. We're next to a major thoroughfare next to I-20, and so you get a lot of transient people that come in and out. It's a fertile ground for prostitutes," he told CBN News.
'Prostitution Diversion Initiative'
The Dallas Police Department took a unique approach to the world's oldest profession by offering prostitutes an opportunity to clean up and get off the streets, in lieu of going to jail.
Coleman is head of the department's Prostitution Diversion Initiative, or PDI. It's a partnership between Dallas police, Social Services, and other organizations.
The department started the program five years mainly out of frustration over arresting the same women over and over again.
"It allows us to move the prostitutes from the wheel of going around in the criminal justice system on a regular basis to moving into a recovery mode," Coleman explained. "(We) realized we were not going to arrest our way out of this."
A key part of the program is that police treat the women they arrest as victims, not criminals.
"When you treat them as a victim, that's what allows them to get the services that they need for whatever is ailing them, be it drug addiction, be it whatever counseling needs they have, for whatever it is that's causing them to be engaged in this lifestyle," Colemen explained.
One night a month police set up a mobile command center near a local truck stop where hookers find their clients. Officers make arrests for prostitution and other crimes.
The women are given a choice: jail or a chance at a new life via the PDI 45-day program.
Only those who are charged with a misdemeanor can participate in the program. If they accept the offer, the services range from job counseling, to mental health services to drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Renee Breazeale, a community liason for PDI, said many of the prostitutes she sees suffer years of pain before turning to the streets.
"Eighty to eighty-five percent of them will acknowledge and are able to articulate childhood victimization, sexual abuse, physical abuse, exploitation, deprivation," she said.
Source: CBN News | Charlene Israel