While many of us don’t know it, the truth is that we all likely know someone who has purchased sex. And while this can be done legally in places throughout the world, many of these exchanges are done without regulation or any sort of assurance that those working in the sex trade are treated well and are in a safe environment.
Many sex workers who do experience abuse and poor working conditions with to get out of the trade, especially those who have been victims of trafficking and forced into this work. But society mistakenly puts shame on those victims, rather than those who are feeding into and turning a blind eye to the abuses that they see and take part in. We need to shift our focus to showing potential clients how their actions can hurt others rather than shaming sex workers. “Johns” should shoulder the blame for creating the demand for the system that is used to exploit and enslave many across the world.
Artist: Bridget Moore
Now New York congresswoman Kathleen Rice made it a mission in 2012 to equalize the playing field in the prosecution of sex trafficking. She set up one of the largest stings of “Johns” in history, resulting in 104 men being arrested for propositioning. She followed this up with a campaign emphasizing that, under her watch, men would have their mugshot shown for perpetuating sex trafficking. Since then, over a dozen other cities throughout America have adopted the same tactics of publicly shaming those who have been caught in similar stings. (New Republic)
One important question is whether or not “john shaming” works as intended. A recent study shows that it may be somewhat effective, but the most effective techniques involve educating men and boys at a young age about the harm of commercial sexual exploitation. This can only be accomplished by de-stigmatizing sex education so that we can have frank conversations. (End Slavery Now)
Question: Do you think public shaming helps prevent future crime? What experiences do you have to use as examples?
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