Prostitution problem in Powell County

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Several people who live in Powell County tell WKYT they are fed up with the prostitution problem there.

Powell County Sheriff's Deputies say that the prostitutes are creating the biggest problem in Clay City. Deputy Sheriff, Robert Matthews says the women sit on the steps near Clay City Elementary, outside of a car wash and a vacant log cabin down the street from the school.

"They're not out there working for their families or doing prostitution to pay a water bill or an electric bill. They're out here selling their bodies so they can get drugs," says Matthews.

It's a problem that Matthews says has gotten worse over the past couple of months.

The Sheriff's Office recently hired a new deputy that no one knows in the area. He goes undercover in an unmarked car to catch these women selling their bodies.

"He would actually pick these girls up and have a tape recorder to record the conversation. We would be close by and he would call us on the cellphone and say the deal is done and we would pull behind them and pick them up and take them to jail," Matthews says.

Eight women have been caught so far, but Deputy Matthews says going to jail isn't stopping them from getting back on the streets, "That's the sad part, a sad situation is prostitution is Class B misdemeanor which is punishable. I believe by a fine and like 90 days in jail."

Deputies with the Sheriff's Office say they will continue to crack down on this problem in Powell County, "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that we've taken care of this problem but we've put a good, huge dent in it."

Deputy Matthews says the only time you can get a felony conviction for prostitution is if the person is infected with HIV.

And while the Sheriff's Office has already made eight arrests, they say that they are not going to stop cracking down on prostitution.

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