Shaming

One method used in over 1,450 U.S. cities and counties involves publicizing the identities of arrested sex buyers.  The “shaming” tactic can take many forms. Methods of dissemination include news outlets, police or district attorney websites, social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter), and/or billboards. In some communities, citizens initiate and maintain websites identifying johns (e.g., Columbus, OH; Oklahoma City, OK). In June, 2019 the Governor of Florida signed a bill into law the creates a registry of convicted sex buyers, and provides a publicly-accessible listing of their identities, including photos, names, and addresses. If fully implemented, all communities in Florida would be included as using shaming as a tactic applied to sex buyers.

Another tactic that can be considered “shaming” involves sending a letter or other notification to the address of registered owners of vehicle suspected of being used to solicit prostituted individuals, alerting owners that their car was seen in an area known for prostitution. Alternatively, letters may be sent to the home addresses of men arrested in reverse stings. The letters usually include warnings citing health risks for johns, their spouses and other partners, and the harm of commercial sex to communities and survivors.  The use of “Dear John” letters intended to alert those living with known or suspected sex buyers is relatively rare, with just 73 communities known to employ this tactic. Information about this approach is presented in the webpage for the tactic, “Letters.”

To learn more about this intervention, access the resources below.

Overview of Shaming Tactics Applied to Sex Buyers in the U.S.

City Council Motion Authorizing Shaming of Arrested Sex Buyers

Registry of Convicted Sex Buyers

Police Press Releases

Police/District Attorney Website Displays of Arrested Sex Buyers

Private Websites Intended t0 Shame Johns:

Billboards Displaying Identities of Arrested Sex Buyers

News Reports About Communities Identifying Arrested Sex Buyers

Editorials and Debates about Shaming Sex Buyers

Media Ads with Arrestee Identities

News Reports on Running Media Ads with Arrestee Identities


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