Humiliation Tactics Against Johns Provoke Debate


More cities are cracking down on prostitution by focusing on demand with tactics of humiliation – like a Chicago Web site with photos of “johns” or billboards in Oakland, Calif. – to try and convince potential customers to stay home, says the Christian Science Monitor. Some applaud the trend, saying that the men who drive the trade have been overlooked while prostitutes get arrested. Others question its effectiveness, suggesting that Web sites and “john schools” that educate customers about the realities of prostitution accomplish little.

Juhu Thukral of the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York says that focusing on demand won’t reduce the amount of prostitution; rather, more resources should go toward supportive housing, job training, and legal services. Yet Norma Hotaling, a former prostitute who founded The Sage Project in San Francisco and started the nation’s first john school about 10 years ago, insists that they are effective. “You don’t tear down their support system and humiliate them,” she says. “Do you want them to be total outcasts?”


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