Last updated on: 2/15/2008 | Author:

Should Cities Shame Johns by Putting Their Faces on Billboards, Television, or the Internet after Their Arrest?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)

The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, in the article “Responses to the Problem of Street Prostitution” posted on its website (accessed Mar. 5, 2007), stated that:

“Some police agencies and local governments have publicized the names and photographs of clients who are either arrested for and/or convicted of prostitution-related offenses. The names and photographs may appear on television, in newspapers, or on internet websites.”

Mar. 5, 2007

PRO (yes)


Richard M. Daley, JD, Mayor of Chicago, Illinois, in a June 21, 2005 press conference, as reported by Bruce Blythe in the July 15, 2005 Bloomberg article entitled “Who’s Accused of Soliciting Sex in Chicago? See Them on the Web,” said:

“We’re telling everyone who sets foot in Chicago, if you solicit a prostitute, you will be arrested. And when you are arrested, people will know. Your spouse, children, friends, neighbors and employers will know.”

June 21, 2005


Wichita Police Department Captain Felecia Norris, told TV station KAKE in Wichita, Kansas, for its story “Prostitution Busts Go Online in Wichita” on Mar. 2, 2007, that:

“Photos of people arrested in connection with prostitution-related offenses will be posted on the Wichita Police Department website for 30 days. Once they have gone through the judicial system and are convicted, their photos will be posted for another 30 days. In addition, we will post photos of individuals for whom a warrant for a prostitution-related offense has been issued. That photo and warrant information will remain on the website until they are apprehended.

The crime of prostitution directly affects the quality of life in our community. The Wichita Police Department will continue to do everything possible to reduce prostitution and make Wichita more safe and secure.”

Mar. 2, 2007


Ignacio De La Fuente, then President of the Oakland, California City Council, was quoted in the Mar. 13, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article “Using Shame As Punishment” as having said:

“I tell people who say to me that prostitution is a victimless crime they should know about the 217 under-age girls who were arrested for prostitution in Oakland last year. We’re going to shame the out-of-towners and locals who drive to our neighborhood to look for prostitutes.”

Mar. 13, 2005


Wellington Webb, Former Mayor of Denver, Colorado, was quoted in the Aug. 5, 2002 American City & County article “Denver Uses Shame Tactics To Stop Prostitution” as having said:

“The city has given ample warning to those who choose to engage in the crime of prostitution. If you choose to risk being arrested for prostitution, if you choose to risk catching a sexually transmitted disease, you now also choose to take the risk of having your picture appear on TV and on the city’s Web site for the whole world to see.”

Aug. 5, 2002

CON (no)


Michael Smerconish, JD, talk show radio host, said on the Mar. 18, 2005 show “Scarborough Country” on Microsoft Network-National Broadcast Company (MSNBC) that:

“We don’t put the mug shots of carjackers or drunks on billboards. Why are we going to do it with johns? Legalize it and zone it, that’s the direction in which we ought to head. You know that, in my home town of Philadelphia, they started to print the mug shots of those arrested for solicitation in the newspaper. All of a sudden, a couple of the guys were exonerated, but already their reputations had been ruined.

You’re never going to solve it. That’s why they call it the oldest profession. Legalize it, derive tax revenue from it and zone it. Put it in an industrial area.”

Mar. 18, 2005


Tucker Carlson, former host of Cable News Network (CNN)’s Crossfire, said on the July 30, 2002 show that:

“Now, we know something about television ratings here at ‘Crossfire,’ and I know a desperate attempt to appeal to the public’s… interests when I see one, and ‘John’s TV’ is just that…

What about child molesters? What about rapists? I guess the point here is, people soliciting prostitutes are really at the lower end of the threat scale here, whereas child molesters, I would say, are right near the top.

Why not put them on the tube? …[T]he problem here that strikes me is for a relatively low-grade crime you’re potentially destroying someone’s entire family.”

July 30, 2002


The Peoria Journal Star editorial board wrote the July 1, 2005 editorial “Keep Peoria Sex Trade Off The Web” that stated:

“Peoria’s plan to put pictures of alleged prostitutes and their customers on the Web just doesn’t feel right. Whatever happen to innocent until proven guilty?…

We are impressed with the arguments made by Kevin Lyons, Peoria County’s law-and-order state’s attorney. Mistakes can be made, he says. The wrong persons can be arrested. Charges can be dropped. Not many people who call up the Web site to see if they can find anyone they know will take all of this into consideration…

Not that shame doesn’t have its place. The Journal Star publishes names of those who are charged with soliciting for prostitution (though not those who are just arrested). That is embarrassing, even without a pictorial highlight. It is also newsworthy. Neighborhood associations are free to post photos on Web sites of their own, should they think that useful. Governments should refrain.”

July 1, 2005