After sizing up the human-trafficking problem in Ohio, expanding victim services, and crafting a tough new law, a state panel got to the bottom line: busting “johns,” says the Columbus Dispatch. “Men have to be arrested,” said Jewel Woods of the Renaissance Male Project, a subcommittee leader of the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Study Commission. “There is no substitute for arresting men who are involved in commercialized sex.” Attorney General Richard Cordray’s panel focused in its final report on the “demand” side of human sex trafficking, making recommendations to law enforcement, prosecutors, and community agencies.
Woods’ committee said the demand for sex is fueled by “the limitless profits that traffickers and pimps generate from repeatedly selling sexual services of those under their control.” The panel suggested reducing demand by increasing arrests of “buyers of prostitution,” typically men who quite often escape punishment while the woman goes to jail. There should be more “john” schools (Columbus and four other cities already have them), and community agency staff members should be trained to recognize human-trafficking cases, the committee said. The “boys will be boys” attitude must be abandoned, Woods emphasized. The committee called on law-enforcement and social-service agencies to be more diligent in pursuing child pornography and child sexual-abuse cases. Both are often markers of men who later become involved with “consumer sex” with human trafficking victims. The committee cited studies finding that the average “john” is an adult male in his late 30s, unmarried or separated. One out of five men surveyed said he had visited a prostitute at least once in his life.