Shame as deterrence: Bill would create online registry of Ohio ‘johns’

The Columbus Dispatch | Randy Ludlow

In a bid to use shame to deter the purchase of sex, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and a group of lawmakers want to post the names and photos of convicted “johns” and pimps in an online registry.

“Never underestimate the power of shame as a human motivator,” Yost said Wednesday afternoon in joining four lawmakers to unveil soon-to-be-introduced legislation targeting human trafficking.

“Basic economics works under the premise of supply and demand and right now we have a demand problem in Ohio,” Yost said. “Our goal is to reduce the demand and in return rescue victims from this modern-day slavery. Making that a reality starts by unmasking and penalizing those who buy sex or profit from human trafficking.”

Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said his bill will include a $190,000 two-year appropriation for Yost’s office to maintain a public registry on the Internet of those convicted of buying and promoting the purchase of sex from prostitutes…

Reps. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, Rick Carfagna, R-Genoa Township, and Cindy Abrams, R-Harrison, will introduce companion legislation in the House.

One bill would increase criminal penalties for repeat soliciting offenses and another would create a new crime targeting pimps — knowingly receiving financial proceeds for sex acts committed by prostitutes.

The buying and selling of sex would be separated as crimes, with those convicted of soliciting prostitutes facing a mandatory 30-day jail sentence for a second offense and a mandatory 60-day sentence for third and subsequent convictions. Most men who purchase sex seldom do much jail time, the state officials said. The crime would remain a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six months in jail.

The bill also would seek to make “john school” mandatory in which offenders would receive counseling for which they would pay, Yost said.

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