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Oct 20, 2010 7:49 PM by David Ortiviz

Prostitution now illegal in Pueblo

The world's oldest profession is now illegal in Pueblo. On Oct. 12, city council passed an ordinance prohibiting prostitution. Although there is a state statute in Colorado prohibiting prostitution, Pueblo hasn't had a city ordinance to address the problem in nearly 30 years.

Now anyone who engages in prostitution can be charged with a municipal offense. The penalty is a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to one year in jail. Also anyone convicted of prostitution must undergo an HIV test, which will be paid for by the criminal. Plus, a surcharge of $300 will be collected from every person convicted, to defray the costs of HIV tests for indigent criminals charged with prostitution.

In April 2009, News First 5 highlighted the prostitution problem in Pueblo. I set up a camera in my marked news vehicle on E. 4th St. and recorded a series of suspicious encounters at 4th St. and Glendale St. over several days. Women would flag down men in cars, get into the vehicles and leave the area together. A woman who ran an HIV clinic at that corner confirmed our suspicions. "The majority of time they just go in the John's car and perform the acts in the vehicle wherever they park," said Jolene Hausman, who ran Glendale 4, an HIV Outreach center. "A lot of the prostitutes in Pueblo only charge $5 for just performing oral sex," said Hausman.

The HIV clinic eventually closed and in January 2010 the City of Pueblo purchased the building and transformed it into a police substation.

According to the city attorney's office Pueblo passed a law prohibiting prostitution in 1952, but city council repealed it in 1981. The city attorney's office did not know why council took that action.

Follow me on Facebook at David Ortiviz and on Twitter at @ortiviz

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