ST. LOUIS - Five men and a woman were arrested Tuesday near South Broadway in connection with an ongoing crackdown on prostitution.
On Monday, six women were arrested for prostitution on South Broadway, and on Tuesday, another woman and five men were arrested.
Those arrested Tuesday were identified as:
- Barry Swanagan, 54
- Joshua Hamlett, 30
- Saud Mehmedovic, 48
- Steve Harter, 62
- Lee Walker, 51
- Amanda Osthoff, 34
The five men were each issued a summons for patronizing prostitution and the woman was issued a summons for prostitution.
The 12 people were arrested this week as a part of a crackdown by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. The investigation is ongoing.
The problem extends to Dutchtown, on the streets around South Grand. That’s where Patrick Dixon and his wife Lauren Lee live and deal with the prostitutes there nearly every day.
“We parked a car one time and she came up from behind and jumped in our car, thinking we pulling up for her," Dixon said. "We had no idea she was even there. It’s that brazen.”
They said their corner, which also happens to be a school bus stop, is a hotbed for prostitution. Dixon ran into one, literally, on his way to work this week, and called police. South City neighbors and business owners said the problem is getting out of control. But what’s the solution?
5 On Your Side spoke with one former prostitute and drug addict, who said arresting these prostitutes won’t fix the problem.
“They’re homeless, because their family did give up on them, and they didn’t have the support system that I had, or they live in drug houses," she said. "You give them 28 days in a workhouse or in rehab, then they get out, where are they going? They’re going right back where they were.”
She said in order to stop the prostitution, the underlying drug addictions have to be dealt with, specifically, with lengthier rehab programs, and positive support systems for the addicts.
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