New effort to help curb prostitution on city's south side

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Officials have taken a new approach to curbing prostitution on Milwaukee's south side.

The Milwaukee Police Department has tried prostitution sweeps to stop "the activity." They even allowed FOX6 News to tag along on an undercover sting.

However, Captain Alfonso Morales says regular sweeps alone won't curb the problem.

"We can make an arrest for prostitution, bring that person in -- whether it's the male or the female to the district station and they're in and out within an hour. Oftentimes those actors will come right back into operation in the streets in which we picked them up an hour ago," Captain Morales said.

This has led to a more collaborative approach.

With the encouragement of Milwaukee Alderman Bob Donovan and Alderman Jose Perez, MPD is teaming up with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office, the state Department of Justice and community agencies.

"We're looking at it with a prevention and intervention and kind of a suppression strategy," Alderman Perez said.

For one thing -- authorities will determine whether the prostitute needs treatment or a shelter.

"We have to identify what type of prostitute it is. Is it the drug addicted prostitute or is it the prostitute that's being trafficked?" Alderman Perez said.

MPD also plans to "shame" alleged Johns by releasing their information and mug shots to the public, and towing their cars.

"If you come into this neighborhood to commit this crime of prostitution you could spend the night in jail and you could end up walking home -- and you've got a hell of a lot of explaining to do to whoever your significant other may be," Alderman Donovan said.

Besides other remedies, it will be determined if the Johns will get alternative treatment and education.

The FBI may be joining the initiative in pursuit of the human trafficking cases.

Since the initiative began in late August, officials have seen a decrease of 10% in street robberies.