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UNTHSC Collaborates With Law Enforcement to Provide Alternatives to Dallas Prostitutes
Date:8/25/2009

Prostitution research takes to the streets

FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dallas prostitutes are getting a chance to change their lives, thanks to a collaboration among the Dallas Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Dallas County Commissioner's Office, courts, Dallas County Health Department, Adult Probation Department, Parkland Hospital and Homeward Bound, which serves as the lead for more than 40 social service and faith-based organizations. The program offers prostitutes a comprehensive, multi-step, in-patient and out-patient treatment program as an alternative to further victimization and continued involvement in the criminal justice system. The University of North Texas Health Science Center evaluates data from the program in analyzing health trends and indicators in the prostitution community, which could lead to intervention and treatment.

Initiated in 2007, the Prostitute Diversion Initiative (PDI) targets prostitutes in a monthly sting operation at Dallas-area truck stops. But the goal isn't to jail the offenders. Instead, they can avoid arrest, jail time and endangering public health through their risky behavior as part of an intervention by local law enforcement and community health services.

Dr. Martha Felini, assistant professor of epidemiology at the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth School of Public Health, has found preliminary results very encouraging. "In this hard-to-reach population of truck stop prostitutes who have the highest risks of experiencing violent death compared to other population subgroups, the potential of this program to save lives is tremendous," Felini said. "We hope that early intervention will get prostitutes off the streets and improve public health in Dallas, as well as the hometowns o
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SOURCE University of North Texas Health Science Center
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