The oldest profession is alive and well on the streets of New York. Though these days you more often hear about working girls trafficked as sex slaves being taxied around and sold online, old-fashioned street walkers still walk the night. So now the NYPD is giving a new preventative tactic a shot (to a degree and with some criticism): arresting the johns.
As part of "Operation Losing Proposition" last month, police officers began posing as sex workers in 27 precincts across the city and over four days arrested 186 johns. Of course, if the goal of the sweep was to "focus not on supply but on demand" the police confused matters a little by also arresting 10 prostitutes in the process. "It is not a sound policy," Audacia Ray of the Red Umbrella Project told the Times. "I don’t think we’ll see a big drop in prostitution because of these arrests," she argued before elaborating that she didn't expect to ever see street trade fade.
The new tactic from the police reportedly came after Commissioner Kelly took part in a series of meetings, beginning last year, with advocates from Europe and elsewhere aiming "for a fairer approach to prostitution." Reportedly "Kelly eventually met with prostitutes, listening to their accounts, and then created a Human Trafficking Squad to target johns."
Only time will tell if going after johns will help sex workers move on to another business or just move them online faster (where other dangers lurk). In the meantime, working girls (and boys) can still be found on corners the city over if you just keep your eyes out. How would you try to stop sex trade? Or not?