A Los Angeles County supervisor called Tuesday for broadcasting the names and photographs of “johns” on websites and billboards to battle prostitution and child sex trafficking.
Supervisor Don Knabe recommended that county attorneys draft an ordinance allowing officials to publish the names of those who solicit prostitution, especially those who seek to pay for sex with minors.
“We can go a lot farther in holding these lowlifes responsible,” Knabe said of what he called a “shame campaign.”
“I want the faces of those who buy sex from minors to be plastered across the county,” Knabe said.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas called it the “moral question of our time … how we deal with those who prey on children.”
Much of the county’s effort in the battle on sex trafficking has focused on making sure child prostitutes are not further victimized by the judicial system. However, Knabe said it’s time to turn to the “demand” side of the issue.
For many years, the Sheriff’s Department was pressured not to prosecute cases involving prostitution, which was viewed by some as a “victimless crime,” a department representative told the board.
Sting operations are now regularly conducted, targeting both pimps and johns and using younger female deputies as decoys.
Knabe said he hoped the threat of public exposure would do even more to discourage the practice.
“I believe that displaying photographs of the so-called ‘johns’ on the Internet, on billboards and other public places will be a powerful deterrent for anyone considering purchasing a young girl for sex,” Knabe said. “It’s time for the perpetrators to pay the price for taking the innocence away from young children.”
County lawyers were directed to report back with a draft ordinance in 45 days.
— City News Service
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