Back on March 4th the Detroit Free Press ran a story about how the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office was starting up a show called Johns TV that will show the names and faces of the men who are convicted of soliciting prostitutes in the county. The idea is to use public humiliation to scare men away from seeking out ladies of ill-repute for fear of public exposure if they get caught. They might have wanted to check with the folks in Oklahoma before going through the trouble:
Shame television is off the air in Oklahoma after the channel aimed at humiliating men who frequented prostitutes ended up providing free advertising for city street walkers but gaining few viewers.
Oklahoma City officials this week pulled the plug on a city-run television channel used to show pictures of prostitutes and their customers. They said the channel did not deter prostitution.
It was launched in 1999 with the intention of frightening people not to engage in prostitution out of the threat that their face would be splattered across the airwaves.
The scrolling and repeating mug shots of disheveled streetwalkers helped would-be customers identify prostitutes, the spokeswoman said. “It was almost a promotional thing for them. It wasn’t a deterrent at all,” Ingersoll said.
The truth is that most folks who solicit prostitutes probably don’t make a big secret of the fact as it is so there’s no real reason they should be embarrassed if their picture shows up on TV. In the case of Oklahoma it even backfired on them and worked like free advertising. Gotta love that kind of irony.
The better solution would be to follow the lead of our Canadian neighbors and legalize prostitution, regulate it, tax it, and set up specific rules for it. Problem in Ontario seems to have been minimized by not making criminals out of people who just want to get laid and the people who are willing to do so for a fee.