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Second Chance option

The Toledo court system was not successful in ending prostitution – so Second Chance was created to help.

Second Chance helps abused prostitutes leave their profession in search of a positive future. Those who end up leaving prostitution unwillingly often do so in two ways – death or imprisonment.

Homicide is the number one cause of death for prostitutes, according to a Second Chance flyer passed out at the Brown Bag Luncheon.

The Brown Bag Luncheon program hosts a new guest each week to discuss different issues. This week Deidra Bennett, a social worker from the domestic violence shelter Cocoon, spoke with a roomful of students, faculty and community members about the risk to prostituting girls.

Bennett hosted a case study in the Toledo area where she studied juvenile prostitutes who were in custody of the city – most of which who were not being held on prostitution charges.

To be charged with prostitution one must be caught in the act, which is difficult for law enforcement to do.

Many prostitutes are brought in on drug-related or solicitation charges.

Then after talking with a probation officer or social worker they show signs of being a prostitute, said Bennett.

Even though these signs may be apparent to law enforcement, the prostitutes are repeatedly let go to continue their profession, said Celia Williamson, who works for the social work department at the University of Toledo.

“Before Second Chance the only available option to get rid of prostitution was incarceration,” Williamson said.

She said this was unsuccessful because jails were crowded, and the prostitutes would be released to make room for violent and dangerous criminals.

The old system also released prostitutes after a court date was set, which they would not show up for.

The prostitute would soon be arrested again and let go once again with another court date – which they would fail to appear at once again.

“This was a continuous cycle,” Williamson said. She hopes Second Chance will change these outcomes by interfering with this failed cycle.

This failed cycle is not only costing prostitutes their lives, but is also costing Toledo several thousand dollars.

According to Williamson, each arrest costs around $2,000 and the average prostitute is arrested 27 times.

“Hopefully Second Chance will fix this problem,” she said.

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