John Schools: Like AA Meetings For Dudes Who Hire Prostitutes

About 50 cities in the U.S. have come up with an interesting way to handle dudes who are caught trying to pick up prostitutes—they’re sending them to “John Schools.” In these AA-like meetings, the guys listen to presentations by former prostitutes who tell them how brutal the industry is, health experts who share how dangerous sex-for-hire can be, and therapists who try to get them to understand why they were trying to buy nookie in the first place. The idea is to get the guys—about half of whom are married—to understand that hiring a prostitute isn’t a fun and harmless thing, but that they’re actually part of a much bigger problem. Only first-time offenders are eligible for these AA-like meetings, which are generally held in churches or government buildings. (Repeat offenders and those who try to solicit minors are dealt with more harshly.) The guys also have to pay a $250 fee and finish the class without trying to buy another woman. The idea is to punish the buyers rather than the prostitutes themselves, who in the traditional legal system are generally given much more severe punishments than the dudes who use their services. Some think if men stop buying sex, women will stop selling it.

But not everyone thinks these schools are effective. Although men often leave the schools feeling super embarrassed, some don’t think the classes are punishment enough. And others believe prostitution should just be legal. What do you think? [CNN]