On August 24th, TK, Robin and I conducted a prostitution outreach shift in conjunction with the 47th precinct. Accompanied by a helpful police lieutenant from the precinct, we were driven around in the middle of the night to areas known to be hotspots of prostitution activity, introducing ourselves to individuals engaged in prostitution and attempting to connect with them in a non-punitive context. The shift was a success as we connected with seven individuals.
One of our contacts is an existing client of Bronx Community Solutions. She felt comforted in seeing a familiar face and she said it was "a sign" that we came across her that night. That's one of the great things about outreach, we are able to maintain a place, a presence within the community. Bronx Community Solutions is a known organization, and this consistency stands as a strong platform for dialogue and sharing of helpful information.
When we connected with one particular woman, let's call her "Mary," we became in a sense connected to multiple individuals. In meeting Mary we were able to share information about BCS, our services, programs, harm reduction techniques, and our contact information; in turn she offered to share all of this newly acquired knowledge with other women who are working. At the time we were out, those "other" women not there; and she detailed their involvement with pimps in that neighborhood. Mary will pass along the newly learned BCS information to those women who we couldn't reach in person that night, and hopefully BCS can stand as a life-line for girls and women in immediate need.
Two of the women reached out to me in the days following our outreach, including the BCS client mentioned above. Both are hoping to enter a drug treatment program in the near future.
- Melissa Novock, BCS Case Manager