ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - As the city of St. Louis spells out new measures to crack down on hookers and the men who hire them, a new group is looking for other ways to get women off the streets.
“This is a major problem. It’s not because St. Louis is unique, it’s because we’re a major urban area. That means drugs are a problem and that means prostitution is a problem,” says Mike Kinman, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis and President of the Board of Magdalene St. Louis.
Kinman hopes to copy the model of Magdalene in Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a program that takes women off the streets, puts them in a secure home, and gives them the services they need to start a new life such as drug counseling, “most of them, 95 – 98% of them are heavily crack and heroin addicted,” points out Kinman. And most have suffered years of physical abuse, “their average age of first sexual experience probably was seven or eight.”
He adds most women who sell themselves for sex are caught in a cycle. “They’re arrested, there’s some sort of slap on the wrist because the judicial system is completely overloaded. And then they’re back out on the streets, and of course they’re heavily addicted to these drugs so they’re back out on the streets using and prostituting again.”
Kinman says getting them out of that life could save future generations. “Their children are growing up in awful situations. And all of the sudden, in a very short time, 2, 3, 4 years, you have a much more stable family situation and those kids have a shot that they never would before.”
Magdalene St. Louis is in the process of finding a house. They hope to have funding and staff in place to welcome four to six women by the summer of 2014.
They also plan to offer a “Johns school” through the court system for first-time offenders. “Prostitution is dehumanizing. It is largely men using women as objects of sexual gratification. That’s soul killing for everyone.”
You can contact Magdalene St. Louis through their website www.magdalenestl.org or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.