Male prostitution becomes growing problem - WKRN News 2

Male prostitution becomes growing problem

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Glen Voll Glen Voll

Downtown residents and business owners are fed up with an area they say is constantly occupied by male prostitutes.

Chris Dugger runs Ruby-Green Art Gallery on 5th Avenue South.

He said the nonstop parade of illicit activity is not only affecting the quality of life, but makes his art clients feel uncomfortable.

"If they were women, they'd run ‘em off, but they're men, they get away with it," he told News 2.  "If you drive down 5th Avenue slowly -- there are some customers who do because they are looking for our shop -- they get a lot of stares from the guys hoping maybe they are looking for them."

In the last year, Metro police said they have made 50 prostitution arrests in the area.

"I understand the frustration but it is not going unaddressed," Lt. Brian Johnson told News 2.  "What we do to stop it.  We send the Crime Suppression Unit out there using undercover officers who work it and we pick up the male prostitutes.  We use confidential informants as well."

In 2004, News 2 had exclusive access to just such a raid in the very area Dugger complains about.

An uncover officer posed as a "John" and within seconds, was in the car of an alleged prostitute.

The suspect, Glen Voll, now 31-years-old, told News 2 at the time he was doing whatever he could to survive.

Police said many of the men are repeat offenders.

While the 2004 charge was Voll's first prostitution charge, he had numerous charges such as resisting arrest and failure to be booked on his record.

Some question whether the penalty for prostitution should be tougher.

Currently it is only misdemeanor.  Those charged serve little to no time and released right back on the streets.

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