The West Ender
July 25, 1996

Tom Zillich

City considers sending
johns back to school

Someday in Vancouver, those charged with paying for sex might have a choice between the schoolhouse and the courthouse.

"John" school is being studied by police and government officials as a way to educate those who buy sex from prostitutes.

Similar educational programs are already at work in Toronto and Calgary. City council asked Vancouver's police chief Tuesday to look at developing a curriculum here.

Coun. Lynne Kennedy's vision is to give johns the choice between schooling and trial for their sex-buying habits.

"This is a way to make johns take the charge seriously," Kennedy said. "You're never going to stop prostitution, but this might contain it and control it."

Several methods of "shaming" johns have been tried in Vancouver, including letters sent to them explaining how their actions harm neighbourhoods and prostitutes themselves.

John school would educate students with first-hand stories of the serious problems associated with prostitution.

Police like the idea, said Const. Anne Drennan, it's now just a matter of logistics and funding. "It's a further step in dealing with johns as opposed to hookers," Drennan said. "We'd support it with the proviso that somebody else would set it up for us."

Kennedy said she'd like to get the school going this fall. Before that, co-operation and support from the attorney general's office is necessary and expected.

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Created: August 12, 1996
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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