Flint police think the city has a prostitution problem and they think they may also have a solution.

Flint police announced in 2014 they would start posting mug shots of prostitution suspects on Facebook. And they did just that on Oct. 29, 2015.

"It's just not something you'd want to see on Facebook," said Erin Vanhecke, Flint resident.

Flint police are hoping that prostitutes and their johns feel the same way. After prostitution charges hit a five year high in 2014 the city decided to start putting the mug shots of both the prostitutes and their johns on Facebook, but not everyone thinks its a solution to the problem.

"I honestly don't think it will have much of an affect. If they're going to do something then they're going to do something," Vanhecke said.

He lives in a Flint neighborhood where prostitution is prevalent. In fact, TV5 ran into one while they were in the area. She said turning tricks is the only way she knows how to make a living.

"It's so difficult to see them on the street, to see them walk by," one resident said.

He didn't want to be identified, but he said he sees prostitutes come in and out for food at his soup kitchen. He said instead of focusing on those turning the tricks, police should put a heavier spotlight on the men paying for them.

"The pictures of the johns need to be on there as well. I cannot imagine getting caught in that situation and having my picture going to be on the web," he said.

Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton said while putting these photos up on Facebook could help deter prostitution, harsher punishment for the johns could be an even better deterrent then public humiliation.

"We ought to be increasing the penalties on the johns. They've been treated a little too leniently over the years in my view," Leyton said.

Flint police posted photos of five men who were charged with accosting and soliciting for prostitution.

Those men are Danny Boillat, 64, Sammie Orr, 52, Thomas Shinabarger, 53, Alec Rutherford, 20, and Zachariah Shustock, 24.

Boillat, Orr, Shinabarger, and Rutherford are wanted for their arrest.

These charges stem from a July 31 initiative targeting prostitution.

Copyright 2014 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Digital Content Producer

Recommended for you