Monday, August 31, 2009

Working on the Demand Side of Prostitution

Either a decrease in supply or a decrease in demand (or both) can lead to fewer goods and/or services being traded in a market. For communities trying to reduce prostitution transactions, a lot of the effort has been targeted at the supply side.

The City of Nashville (among others), however, is targeting the demand side with its "John Schools." No, they are not going to teach you how to become a better john. For those not familiar with the term (like me who knows nothing about prostitution so had to look up the term), the "john" is the customer in the transaction.

If a john pleads guilty to the initial offense, pays a $250 fee and completes the course without re-offending, the original charge can be dismissed after a year. The article claims that John Schools are designed to try to reduce re-offending and thereby reduce demand. And, I think the argument is that it's more than just the incentive to avoid re-offending in the first year. Based on the article, the claim seems to be that educating the johns about how bad prostitution is will lead to long-term changes in their behavior. Hmmmm.

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