Prostitution is, as they say, the oldest profession in the world. Historically, the efforts put in place to combat the misdemeanor offense were focused on the supply side of the economic equation. That is to say that mostly women were charged with prostitution as opposed to buyers being charged with solicitation. Recently, however, there has been a shift, and buyers are being targeted more. Here are three ways police both entice and divert potential buyers of commercial sex.
The john school diversion program is the most well-known approach to curb prostitution buys. The program is offered both in-person and online and can be accomplished easily and quickly. Typically, participation in the program will offset the solicitation charge so that the offender doesn’t have a permanent record. Frequently, those who participate in John School have a low record of recidivism.
Seattle, Washington has led the way with new approaches for those considering purchasing commercial sex. One tactic has been to deploy pop-up ads on sites frequented by sex buyers offering help and alternatives for buyers. Those who click on the ads generally have a high click-through rate. Potential buyers, themselves, identified this approach as being effective.
Police more frequently engage in reverse stings where they pose as prostitutes or underage youth selling sex. Live stings generally result in arrests. Newer, online programs, though, send a message to the potential buyer that purchasing sex, especially from someone underage, is illegal. This new program has shown signs of promise and is still being studied.
Anti-demand efforts have become more popular in recent years to curb commercial sex. Law enforcement, partner agencies and diversion programs all provide ways to address the issue of prostitution. Reverse sting arrests, preventative measures and diversion programs are not going anywhere in the near future.