TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee police are going undercover to stop prostitution in the capital city.
Prostitution in Tallahassee is a bigger problem than you might think. While people in town say they want the streets cleaned up, The Refuge House says many of those women just don't have a choice.
"Anytime you go down Dewey Street, sometimes down Dover Street, you see a lot of activity going on," said Curtis Taylor, who lives in Tallahassee. "Prostitution, selling drugs, all kind of other activity."
Curtis Taylor has lived in Tallahassee for decades. He works at the Tallahassee Urban League in the D block. He says what happens there makes people feel unsafe.
"We have senior citizens that are coming up to us all the time saying they're fearful to go outside because of the illegal activities," Taylor explained. "They won't allow their kids and grandkids to go outside because of the things that are happening in their community."
Five people were arrested in Tallahassee Police Department's latest sting: Sylvia Bryant, Quinntina Franklin, Sarah Robinson, Gregory Lightfoot and Jennifer Nolin.
Meg Baldwin works with the advocacy group The Refuge House. She says she's seen about 200 people, from women to young boys, come in seeking help or shelter.
"A person becomes particularly vulnerable to prostitution because she already experienced sexual assault at a young age, often by a family member," said Baldwin.
Baldwin says the only way for things to get better is for TPD to go after the people running those prostitution rings. For anyone in need of help, the doors at the Refuge House are always open.
"We can connect you right away with some counseling services, emergency shelter if that's helpful, and just some love and attention," said Baldwin.
These types of undercover operations have been happening all year. In August, TPD arrested five other people including multiple "Johns" -- or sex sellers.
For more information about about the Refuge House or to seek help, call 850-681-2111.