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The Effects of Prostitution on Businesses in North Minneapolis.

Russell, Wynfred N.

According to the Folwell Center for Urban Initiatives and the Minneapolis Police Department Fourth Precinct, there are approximately 30 to 40 habitual prostitutes roaming the streets of North Minneapolis at no specific hours of the day or night, with visible concentration between 4 am to 7 am and 3 pm to 7 pm. This is when johns (clients) are known to drive through the area on their way to and from work. Street-based prostitution is a growing problem in North Minneapolis, largely concentrated around West Broadway, Penn, Lowry, Emerson, and Lyndale Avenues, and the connecting streets and alleyways. This report examines the tensions and intersections between prostitution and issues related to businesses development in North Minneapolis. The study was conducted from May - August 2006. It identifies and catalogs the devastating effects of prostitution on businesses, the peripheral impact on families. The effects on the entire community of North Minneapolis are also considered, but secondarily. The report emphasizes the economic bases of prostitution and highlights the strong economic incentives that drive women to enter prostitution, despite the social stigma and danger attached to the work. Prostitution is often better paid than most of the options available to young, often-uneducated women who engage in prostitution. The report stresses that to come to terms with the problem of prostitution, it is necessary to view the issue holistically. It argues that the growth of prostitution is probably linked, albeit inadvertently, to the macro-economic policies of the city, which have a tendency to spawn rapid gentrification projects at the expense of the poor and downtrodden. This, combined with the pervasive lack of social safety nets and deep-rooted gender discrimination against females, contribute to the growth of prostitution on the northside. This report also seeks to promote reasoned, fact-based, and informed debate regarding street-based prostitution and its adverse effects on the business climate of the catchment area where the study was conducted. Public discussion of prostitution usually occurs in flashy headlines that are meant to titillate rather than to probe the underlying causes and consequences of policy decisions.

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Conducted on behalf of the Folwell Center for Urban Initiatives. Supported by Neighborhood Planning for Community Revitalization (NPCR), a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
19 pp.
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