Elimination of Columbus vice unit impacts work of group trying to stop sex trafficking

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Columbus Vice Unit shutdown has impacted local community outreach programs. Local Outreach Volunteers, a non-profit, worked closely with the vice unit to help get prostitutes off the streets.

Kelly Billups, a spokeswoman with the organization said the group’s goal is to help stop sex trafficking on the streets. The effort is also known as the Linden model. The group partnered with the city attorney’s office, community activists and vice.

Normally, the group would assist vice by feeding the woman and giving them information about where to go for help to escape sex trafficking during prostitution busts. Now that vice is over, they will have to search the “working girls” out on their own which means potentially less interaction with the ladies.

“It was disheartening personally, and personally I can speak for our group, we were part of all three sting operations in the Linden area, and the first one and only one here on the west side,” said Billups.

The group says it will continue to do its work.  Saturday, they will be back out on the west side passing out care packages for the women working the streets.

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