This is the second of a two-part article on prostitution in Champaign-Urbana. Part one, about Champaign, appeared yesterday and is available here. The combined forces of the Champaign, Urbana and University of Illinois police have arrested four prostitutes in In the past five years, a total of 35 prostitution arrests have been made in the Champaign-Urbana area, 33 of which were made by Champaign police.
Lieutenant Bryant Seraphin of the Urbana Police Department said that since a motel at University and Cunningham was torn down and replaced by a Walgreens, there have been no specific problem areas for prostitution in Urbana. Seraphin said that enforcing prostitution laws is not a high priority at monthly police force meetings, because other crimes warrant more attention.
However, a third conviction is a felony, sending a convicted offender to prison. Some of these are from the same women posting repeatedly. The ordinance names 18 specific crimes, three of which are related to prostitution. Bernie Carver, outreach coordinator for Positive Options, Referrals and Alternatives, a Springfield organization offering a treatment program for former prostitutes, said he is not opposed to any measure that would address prostitution.
However, he was skeptical about the effect of such an ordinance. I would feel that [the landlords] may be innocent victims in some cases from that kind of ordinance. The more proper target is the purchasers of sex acts, because they out the sellers by about 10 to one.
In Springfield, an ordinance was recently passed which allows police to hold the vehicle of anyone charged with solicitation of a prostitute for 24 hours. There are no specific programs in Champaign-Urbana to rehabilitate prostitutes.
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