Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 30, 2014

Prostitution still a problem despite winter weather

BLUEFIELD — Despite the recent bitter cold, authorities are still seeing prostitutes in the region. Yet the rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Mercer County have not increased or decreased over the past several months.

The Mercer County Health Department is seeing anywhere between 16 to 20 cases a month, Sandy Davis, RN BSN with the health department, said.

“We mostly see Chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, but we have seen a few syphilis cases recently,” Davis said. “We treat them, they get better and sometimes get re-infected.”

Since the information at the health department is confidential it makes it hard to tell if the STD cases are coming from prostitution, Davis said.

“We were seeing an increase awhile back, but as of right now it has just been steady,” Davis said.

Even in the winter months, authorities say that prostitutes are still out on the streets.

“We still have to deal with them but they don’t stay out as long in the cold weather,” Sgt. D.W. Miller, detachment commander of the West Virginia State Police Princeton detachment, said.

Miller said troopers are always working on arresting them, but once the days start to get warmer they will be out longer hours.

Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole said the prostitute problem is related to the region’s drug issue.

“The task force in addition to drugs has also been working on the prostitution problem,” Cole said. “But Bluefield is not alone in the problem.”

Bluefield Police Chief D.M. Dillow said prostitution is still a problem.

“The prostitutes are not out as much during the winter, but I am sure they are still working somewhere just not outside,” Dillow said. “In the spring time they will be back out.”

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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