The West Ender
Thursday, March 19, 1998


p. 11.

'John' speaks out on john school

As a "john" I think the police and courts are wasting a lot of time and money chasing after people like me whose only "criminal" activity is attempting to buy a sexual service. Note that what is against the law is communicating for the purposes of buying a sexual services. Actually buying a sexual service isn't. Personally, I welcome "john" schools. I think they could be a great way for johns to get organized politically.

As a client, what I would like to see is some form of self-regulation in the industry. What about a card with the service provider's picture on it, a name (not necessarily their real name) and an ID number? This would give me some assurance without violating the service provider's privacy that they were over 18 and working independently. It would give me some recourse if I feel I was treated unfairly. This sort of professional accreditation could be used as a platform for other services for the men and women working in this business.

As I say, the police are wasting their energy "fighting" prostitution. They could do what they do now -- move the trade around to different locations in the city -- with much less effort if they modeled themselves after groups such as PACE and offered needed services to these often very vulnerable men and women. If there were complaints, the police could simply ask people to move elsewhere because it would no longer be an antagonistic relationship. Having the police there as a support would, I think, drastically cut down on the more unsavory aspects of the business.

This won't happen as long as the perception is that the police are there to charge and arrest people for trying to purchase a sexual service. Right now where the police are the prostitutes aren't -- a risky situation for the prostitute and frustrating situation for the police.

The fact is, given the chronic lack of services provided for people at risk, combined with the fact that the street trade is 1/2 to 1/10 the cost of the indoor trade, it is very unlikely that a goal of erradicating street-level prostitution will ever be successful. Start providing some of these needed services, however, and much of the "problem" will likely vanish.

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Created: March 21, 1998
Last modified: June 6, 2001
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