Despite the title of a popular 1970s book, there is no such thing as a 'Happy Hooker.'  In fact, prostitutes in San Antonio are subject not only to arrest for engaging in criminal behavior, but to disease, beating, abuse, and degrading treatment.

 

  1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports efforts are underway in San Antonio to start programs which not simply to lock hookers up for a little while, but to help them kick that lifestyle entirely.

 

 Mike Lozito with Bexar County Judicial Services says such a program is badly needed.

 

  "Very few are the ones who are actually out there making the high dollars," he said.  "That is no more than one to two percent.  Most of the prostitutes that are out there are victims."

 

  The Bexar County Jail Reentry Council working to cut down on recidivism generally.  Now some counties are instituting programs to specifically get hookers off the streets and into a more productive lifestyle.  Many say simply cracking down on prostitution by arresting a handful of prostitutes is ineffective and counter productive.

 

  "About 80% of those individuals have been victims themselves of sexual abuse and sexual assault," he said.

 

  Those who work with prostitutes say the Hollywood stereotype, like Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman,' of prostitutes and escorts who are self confident, happy, and wealthy, are damaging and the vast majority of prostitutes would get out of that lifestyle if given the opportunity.

 

  They say convincing women, and men, that they have alternatives would be a lot more effective than routine 'round ups' of hookers.

 

  Lozito says programs have to be constructed which are available to truly help prostitutes find a better life before those alternatives can be implemented.

 

  "It's real difficult to get an individual to participate in a program," he said.  "You don't want to say to them, hey, come this way, and then you don't have the services.  You don't want to break that trust."