Red Cord Program: changing lives of sex workers

Posted at 12:46 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 13:46:07-04

A prostitution sting operation last week resulted in the arrest of 11 women. But there is a program designed to help them and others turn their lives around.

The Red Cord Program began in 2012. It’s a prostitution diversion program aimed to provide support and resources for sex workers and prostitutes.

KRIS 6 spoke with a woman who asked us not to identify her. She says she was a prostitute for a year, and a drug user for four years before she was arrested in May. She was charged with her second prostitution offense.

“I thought it was easy money. No,” she said. “At the end, look what happened to me.”

Afraid of going to prison and learning she contracted a sexually transmitted disease, she enrolled in the Red Cord Program.

“My life is more important than being out there on the street, or doing drugs,” she said. “And I’m not going back.”

The Red Cord Program is an effort coordinated by the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation. Other community partners include the Corpus Christi Police Department, the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office and others.

People who enroll in the program receive support for things like substance abuse, domestic violence, job attainment, education and more.

The woman who KRIS 6 spoke to has been a part of the program for five months. She says she knows where she’d be if she had not enrolled.

“Out there on the street, doing drugs, and probably dead,” she said. “But that’s not what I want,” she added.

After completing the year-long program, those who were charged with prostitution have the opportunity for their case to be dismissed.

“I learned to be sober, clean, and live a better life,” the woman said. “And I’m in a good place where I’m at.”

Of the 11 women that were arrested in Thursday’s operation, seven have agreed to participate in the program.

To date, 195 people have received services through the program. 13 have graduated.

For more information, visit/contact the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation.