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Escort license ordinances moving quickly in south metro

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WESTON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Proposals to license escort services in the Wausau area are making rapid progress.

On Friday, we reported that Wausau Police Chief Jeff Hardel would like to see an escort license ordinance as an additional tool to stop prostitution, and that work is underway on the draft language. Hardel’s wish to have such an ordinance throughout the metro area may happen quickly.

Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks says such an ordinance could be enacted in their jurisdiction as early as next Monday.  “We’ve already got it passed for the City of Schofield. It has passed the Public Safety Committee at the Village of Weston, and for the April 7th meeting, it should be on the agenda. Hopefully, they will take it up and it will be passed at that point.”

If Weston and Schofield’s ordinance passes, and Wausau passes a similar ordinance later, Sparks believes they won’t need identically-worded ordinances.  “The intent is to have a similar ordinance, but either way, the purpose of the ordinance is the same for all of the communities, and that’s to give us another tool for enforcement and hopefully, a tool that serves as a deterrent and keeps people from setting up shop for prostitution services in the Wausau metro area.”

Sparks says having the tools to stop more prostitution will also help stop some of the other dangerous and criminal activity often tied to prostitution.  “It’s a growing problem, and it’s not just the sex-related crimes of prostitution, but a lot of these cases involve drugs, drug trafficking. A lot of times, drugs are exchanged for sex acts and so it affects more than just prostitution.”

So far, there have been two recent undercover sting operations to catch prostitutes and their clients, with ten arrests in the Wausau area since January.

The proposed Weston ordinance would impose fines in the $2,000 to $5,000 dollar range, and requiring licensed escorts to be fingerprinted, pass background checks, and file a formal business plan.

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