One of our core principles is to shift the focus of the criminal justice system away from vulnerable people in prostitution and toward those who cause the harm in prostitution: the sex buyers. Buyers are less likely to purchase sex when faced with real accountability. It is time to hold buyers accountable.
People are typically coerced into prostitution between the ages of 12 and 15; controlled by pimps, experience multiple traumas, and face many barriers to escaping prostitution. However, past practice punished prostituted people instead of the sex buyers who created the market for exploitation. The cycle of prostitution-related crime and sex trafficking persisted and victims continued to be harmed.
The new model therefore emphasizes prosecuting sex buyers and connecting prostituted people to services. Our goal is to reduce demand for commercial sex by 20% in two years. Reducing demand will decrease harm to prostituted persons, reduce self-destructive behaviors of buyers, and curb sex trafficking in our community.
Education for buyers: Stopping Sexual Exploitation - a Program for Men is a non-judgmental, court-mandated program based on principles of social justice and personal transformation that’s designed to help men understand their behavior and promote their own decisions to not buy sex. Learn more from our partner The Organization for Prostitution Survivors.
As these charts show, between 2013 and 2015, prosecutions of juveniles and adults in prostitution decreased in King County. At the same time, prosecutions of buyers, particularly those willing to have sex with minors increased significantly.