According to a local police officer, who contacted the Leicester Leader, Asheville is a “sanctuary city” for prostitution.
If you are a native of Buncombe County and ever attended an event at the Asheville Civic Center in the 1970’s, 80s, and 90’s you couldn’t have missed them. As you pulled out of the Civic Center parking deck there they were. Five to seven prostitutes leaning over cars and hooking on the street. Lexington and Asheland Avenue was another one of their hangouts. Now you don’t see them anymore. Have they disappeared? Well according to one police officer that contacted the Leicester Leader they are everywhere and he say’s Asheville is a “sanctuary city” for them.
This police officer wants to remain anonymous but he told us to simply Google Asheville escort services. He said the websites for the Asheville prostitutes will be listed. He said, “Just click on one and look at how many prostitutes are there.” So we did and we found hundreds upon hundreds of prostitutes selling themselves online in Asheville. Most of them post pictures of themselves from the neck down with contact information of how to meet them.
Former Asheville police officer Mike Lanning said they use to set up sting operations. He said in order to arrest a prostitute “they had to tell an undercover officer what services they were going to offer and for how much.” Lanning also said sex trafficking would take place in the Asheville area and that they busted a group on Sulphur Springs Road a few years back that was prostituting young Latino girls.
When was the last time a prostitute was arrested in Asheville? The Leicester Leader asked that question to Asheville Police Department Public Relations Officer Wallace Welch who said, “I can’t remember the last time a prostitute was arrested” Welch said, “I will have to research it.” We haven’t heard back from Welch by press time but in our own investigation we found for the year 2016 no arrests were made for prostitution. We also found that the last arrest made for sex trafficking in Asheville was in 2015. The arrests were made by the FBI of which they arrested 4 individuals for prostituting young girls of the age of 12 and 13 years old.
Why haven’t any prostitution arrests been made in over a year or longer? Retired officer Mike Lanning said he thinks the Asheville Police Department is “underfunded” and “they are short police officers.” Leicester resident Joel Sprouse said, “This is what the leadership of Asheville wants. I mean they even advertised Any Way You Like It.” Sprouse said, “Asheville will be a sanctuary City for this kind of thing until they start electing responsible council members that are concerned about crime.”