Shaming

The “shaming” tactic can take several forms. One method used by over 670 U.S. cities and counties involves publicizing the identities of arrested sex buyers.  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.  Over 60% of the 1,035 + cities and counties that are known to have conducted reverse stings have publicized offender identities through media outlets and/or police websites.

The second shaming tactic involves sending a letter to the address of the registered auto owners, 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 wives 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 47 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

Police Press Releases

Police/District Attorney Website Displays of Arrested Sex Buyers

Billboards Displaying Identities of Arrested Sex Buyers

Social Media Used to Broadcast Identities of 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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