Dallas police will gather DNA from prostitutes who volunteer the information to help identify them later if they are reported missing or slain.
The effort is part of the Dallas Police Department's Prostitute Diversion Initiative, which aims to treat prostitutes as victims instead of criminals. The 2-year-old program is the only one of its kind in the nation.
Women can choose to enter a multistep program that offers help in exiting prostitution and helps investigators solve national crimes.
Sgt. Louis Felini said the women can provide police with valuable information about crimes such as drug-trafficking and terrorism and help law enforcement track serial killers across the United States.
"For law enforcement, our take is, we want the intelligence," he said. "We want it to be a long-term intelligence strategy, and we want to deal with the highway serial killers, and we also want to advocate for these victims."
Dallas police hosted a conference, that began Tuesday, about ways of fighting prostitution.
"Prostitutes are not criminals," said Ateba Crocker, a former prostitute who is now an author and professor. "I know that they break the law, but they are victims of a bigger problem."
Crocker was a keynote speaker at the National Prostitute Diversion Conference.
"At that time, I was a single mom, and that's what I thought that I could do to support myself," she said. "That's the only thing I knew how to do. From a young age, my father said, 'Go have sex with this person.' He was selling me and pushing me off, and so I thought that's what I was created for."
The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and Parkland Hospital are partnering with police for the DNA-testing initiative.