HOUSTON—The faltering economy appears to be having a positive impact on a Houston neighborhood that was once plagued by street walkers.
“They’re not here anymore,” said John Branch, a local activist in the Independence Heights neighborhood. “The prostitutes don’t have their customers and the drug dealers don’t have theirs.”
Branch’s sentiments appear to be backed up by experts, who believe economic-hard times are driving prostitutes off the streets. Kathryn Griffin runs a prostitute rehabilitation program called “We’ve Been There, Done that,” and said more women are seeking her help now than ever before.
“I’m completely booked by young ladies who were accustomed to making a substantial amount of money and have seen the cutback,” Griffin said.
One woman who recently walked through Griffin’s door also blamed the poor economy for helping steer her off the streets.
“I hit rock-bottom and remember standing along the freeway trying to decide if I was going to throw myself into on-coming traffic,” said Catherine McAdoo, who spent 15 years as a prostitute. “I’m trying to do something different with my life now.”
Branch, meanwhile, continues to savor his neighborhood’s changing image.
“There used to be eight or nine prostitutes fighting on the corner. You don’t see that anymore and that’s a good thing,” he said.