Prostitution makes Daytonians less safe and makes neighborhoods less attractive for investment. Like any other industry, prostitution follows the laws of supply and demand. The women involved in prostitution are rarely doing so by choice: nearly all of them are facing addiction and most are dealing with the impacts of childhood trauma. Recognizing that women involved in prostitution need treatment and support, the city is looking to curb demand for paid sex through the Buyer’s Remorse campaign. This initiative seeks to educate about the consequences of paying for sex, and also ensures that people who purchase sex in Dayton cannot hide their crimes.
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After a sex-buyer has been convicted of one of three prostitution-related offenses (loitering for prostitution, soliciting, or prostitution), their name and home address will be added to the map on www.buyersremorsecampaign.com. People who live near the offenders will receive targeted Facebook ads letting them know that someone in their neighborhood was convicted of a prostitution-related offense in the City of Dayton, and the ad will include a link to the website.
The Buyer’s Remorse initiative is a modernization of a long-standing city practice of publishing the names of people convicted of prostitution-related offenses. The names and home addresses used to be published in the Dayton Daily News, and more recently are published in a list of the city’s website. Dayton Police have also sought to deter sex-buying by sending warning letters to the homes of people who are caught in stings and who are seen loitering in high prostitution areas without enough evidence to charge them.
117 men were charged with prostitution-related charges in 2018, and 114 of them were convicted. The city prosecutor’s office has a policy requiring those who are arrested for prostitution-related offense to plead to one of the prostitution-related charges – they cannot plead to a lesser offense like disorderly conduct.
First time offenders typically plead to one of the prostitution-related offenses and are sentenced to probation. As part of their plea deal, they are required to attend Johns’ School – a half day class where they are taught about the legal, safety, and public health consequences of prostitution. Through the Johns’ School, men are put into contact with resources for treating sex addiction. Convicted buyers are also required to undergo HIV testing.
Fortunately, few buyers are re-arrested in the City of Dayton. Those who are may face jail time of up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500, at the discretion of the judge. The court may also choose to impose a two-year driver’s license suspension.
People arrested as prostitutes are charged with one of the three prostitution-related offenses (loitering for prostitution, soliciting, or prostitution) which are third-degree misdemeanors and carry a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Judges have discretion as to their sentences, and often will order drug screening and treatment when there is evidence of drug addiction. Women who are involved in prostitution have access to services in the Montgomery County Jail and through the City of Dayton’s probation department, which will work on creating an individualized plan for recovery. Women convicted of prostitution-related offenses are required to undergo HIV testing.
The city will only publish the names of people arrested 30 days after the announcement of the initiative on January 11, 2019. The city will not publish any convictions retroactively. Because of that, the first names of convictions will not be published until May 1, 2019.
The city prosecutor will work with Dayton Municipal Court to track expungements of anyone who was convicted of a prostitution-related offense. People who have their records expunged will be removed from the website. Removal will occur when a person eligible for expungement submits their application to the Clerk of Courts. There will also be a form on the website allowing someone to report if they believe their name has been listed on the site in error. The city’s Law Department will review all of these claims.
Women who are involved in prostitution are almost never there because they choose to be. Most women involved are addicted, and many are victims of human trafficking or childhood trauma. The city’s goal for prostituted women is making sure they receive necessary treatment and support.
Prostitution follows the laws of supply and demand, and the city is seeking to reduce demand for prostitution by making sure that people who buy sex in Dayton cannot hide their crimes. Surveys of men who have been arrested for prostitution-related offenses have shown that public shaming is likely to be the best deterrent for committing these offenses.
The city’s technology and marketing vendor, Catapult Creative, will only target ads to people who say they are over 18 on Facebook.
There will be a form on the website allowing someone to report if their name has been listed on the site in error. The city’s Law Department will review all of these claims.
Their legal name, home address, and the crime they were convicted of will be published.
They will remain on the website until the campaign ends. There is not currently a date for the end of the campaign.
Names will be published after the appeals period for a conviction has passed, which is typically 30 days post-conviction.