The changing face of prostitution - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

The changing face of prostitution

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BIRMINGHAM - AL - Prostitution isn't a street corner business anymore in Birmingham.

People are heading online to arrange the crime and they're meeting at local hotels and the prostitution problem is growing.

Berry Patel  says, "Motel owners never like this kind of business."

But the prostitution business is out there and some hotels and motels are caught in the middle.

Patel says, "A lot of times we would tell police to come and help us and let them go because a motel sometimes can't let them go because once they have paid, it's their right to stay in a hotel."

ABC 33/40 has learned some managers working in upscale neighborhoods are checking backpage.com if they believe a customer might be someone being prostituted.

Patel says, "They would show up 2,3,4 days at a time and be on backpage and advertise what room number and name of hotel. In fact, they'd put a picture of them in the hotel room."

Police are aware.

They arrested five women in a sting just last week.

The Wellhouse, which helps victims of sex trafficking, says prostitution on the internet is growing.

Alex Likis says, "I think the internet, there's so much available on the internet now, people can go on Backpage.com and buy somebody and I think more and more people are finding out about that."

Likis says The Wellhouse continues to rescue victims and has helped more than 100 so far. She also says, "40% of trafficking is in the Southeast. A lot of that is because there's a lot of money in the Southeast and for the Bible Belt.  it's never suppose to happen here."

And many businesses are doing what they can to keep prostitution from happening here.

The Wellhouse says prostitution is a 39-billion dollar industry and 23-billion is made here in the U.S. It's also the fastest growing crime in the U.S.

Likis encourages anyone trying to escape from sex trafficking to contact The Wellhouse hotline at (800) 991-0948 or go to www.thewellhouse.org.


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