City of Milwaukee sues homeowners over ‘hub of prostitution'

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 10, 2017

MILWAUKEE, WI - Milwaukee is suing the owners of a so-called "Bawdy House".

The home is located near Greenfield Avenue and 23rd Street, an area most commonly referred to by neighbors as a corridor for prostitution and illegal drug activity.

"It's a problem because some little girls 14 [or 13-years-old] they pass by and they offer them a job," said Alberto Rivera.

Rivera lives in the area and said he's done so most of his life, but the most frightening day for him was a few weeks ago when his daughter told him she was approached by a man on her way home from school and asked to become involved in prostitution.

"I became angry, I became mad," Rivera said. "I was thinking of the consequences that could happen to me if I come down here and [took justice into] my [own] hands."

Fortunately for Rivera, Alderman Bob Donovan and Alderman Jose Perez are fighting on his behalf. The aldermen are working together with the city of Milwaukee to combat the prostitution and drug deals they say have gravely affected the city's south side.

The city filed a lawsuit June 30 against the owners of a property at 2412 W. Greenfield Ave., a home identified for running a prostitution ring.

"This situation is serious," Perez said.

So serious, the city is tackling the issue in a new way. This is the first time it's using the Bawdy House statute as the primary way to get the property shut down. According to Donovan, this home is just the first of many.

"This is only the beginning," Donovan said.

"This is only the first property. We have several more that the city attorney will be going after," he continued.

The city has not won the action yet, and the home is still open. However, city leaders said they certainly hope to prevail in circuit court. There should be a decision in early August.