Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Investigation into ‘John’s Schools’ By CAASE



This is a case study on John’s Schools, a concept that was designed to address the issue of prostitution by focusing of the demand side of commercial sex. It focuses on international and domestic models and the efficiency of the idea. John schools are used to ‘educate men about the risks associated with prostitution and aim to deter men from purchasing commercial sex in the future. It is important to note that “CAASE refrains from referring to a buyer of sex as a customer, so as not to equate commercial sexual exploitation with a simple economic transaction. This choice reflects CAASE’s belief that the purchase of sex cannot exist as an equal transaction within a patriarchal society” (3).  

Participants of the John’s Schools are individuals that have been arrested for their first time for attempting to purchase sex; they have the option of attending the school or being prosecuted. A survey of the men revealed that 83% of the participants identified buying sex as an addiction.[i]

The core curriculum in the program includes education on legal consequences, health, the effects of prostitution on the prostituted, dynamics of pimping, effects on the community and sexual addiction.
There are many people that present and teach at the school, including a health educator, licensed counselor, an STD educator,  former “johns” Prosecutor, community members, speaker on human trafficking and prostitution survivors. Programs fees range from $85- $827- for most John’s Schools, this money is investing in providing care for the prostituted.

Outcomes from the Toronto John’s School reveal that the men, after completing the program ‘were more likely to accept responsibility for their actions and question if their sexual behavior is an addiction.’[ii] They also said they increased their knowledge of Canadian laws and what life was like for the prostituted.  In the John’s School in Fresno, CA, some participants said learned now to avoid arrest.  The FOPP program in San Francisco has had over 5,300 participants from 1995-2007.  Their recidivism rate from 1995-1998 was 1% (14 re-offended out of the 1,512 males). I question this because how do they collect their data: they only count it as recidivism when they are caught legally, for all those who are caught, there are many that do not. The Portland OR School saw ‘no significant difference in recidivism rates of those who attended [their school] and those who did not’

Three reasons why controlling prostitution by prosecuting the supply side does not work:
1)      Recidivism rates remain high for those selling sex
2)      There is a greater acknowledgment of victimization experienced by those in prostitution
3)      Arrested individual is typically charged a fine they cannot pay which often leads them back into prostitution.
4)      Arresting prostituted individuals does not address the underlying issues of the reason why prostitution exists [iii]


[i] Durchslag & Goswami, 2008
[ii] An Investigation into ‘John’s Schools’ By  CAASE, Page 5
[iii] An Investigation into ‘John’s Schools’ By  CAASE, Page 4


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