California Police Try Shaming Johns Online; Is The Tactic Fair?


San Francisco Bay Area johns have a new worry: finding their mug shots and charges posted online for all to see, says the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a cyber scarlet letter with a punch, as 11 men found out in Richmond, Ca., after they encountered undercover officers who posed as prostitutes last week while wearing hidden microphones. The officers snapped the men’s mug shots while booking them in the field, then posted the photos to the police force’s Facebook page.

“We intend to use social media to highlight those individuals who engage in this exploitive, risky and unlawful conduct,” the post explained. While john-shaming isn’t a new strategy, it has gained momentum in the Bay Area as police seek to fight prostitution and human trafficking. Oakland started a website in June titled “Enough” to shame both johns and pimps after they have been arrested and charged. The move has caught the attention of defense attorneys and legal experts, who worry that defendants, who may ultimately be deemed innocent, could see their reputations disparaged along the way.

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