"John School" Sex Trafficking Law Likely To Accomplish Very Little

john school

On Friday a number of new laws passed by the Legislature earlier this year went into effect. Among them a law which would allow judges to sentence”johns” – people guilty of soliciting prostitution – to a class.

Senator Mac Schneider of Grand forks, who leads the Democrat minority caucus in the Senate and really ought to know better, talks about the law as though it is going to slow up demand for sexual services.

“It is to attack the demand side of the equation when it comes to human trafficking,”Schneider, D-Grand Forks, who sponsored the bill, told reporter Mike Nowtazki. “It’s a hard thing to fess up to, but if there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers in North Dakota, there would be no sex trafficking here.”

Yes. And if there was no demand for marijuana our nation wouldn’t be expending billions of dollars per year on fighting its growth, sale, and use. The whole reason black markets exist for things like drugs or sex is that demand exists which prohibitionist policy does not deter.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Would would be a hard thing for politicians like Schneider to “fess up to” is the reality that there’s likely very little the government can do to shrink the demand for hired sex.[/mks_pullquote]

While this category of law may be the sort of thing politicians can grandstand on, and is without a doubt a windfall for the businesses which provide the counseling services, does anyone really think that classes are going to stem the tide of demand for the world’s oldest profession?

Schneider talks about things being hard to “fess up to,” but really what’s hard about forcing unsympathetic violators of prostitution laws into counseling classes? There’s nothing particularly hard about that sort of policy. It is among the lowest of the low hanging political fruit. It’s non-controversial cat nip for politicians.

Would would be a hard thing for politicians like Schneider to “fess up to” is the reality that there’s likely very little the government can do to shrink the demand for hired sex. It would be nice to hear a politician like Schneider “fess up” to the reality of the situation, which is that we could do far more to reduce the amount of abuse and suffering in the sex trade by legalizing transaction for sex among consenting adults.

Increasing the severity of punishment for prostitution, or soliciting prostitution as the case may be, is not going to lessen demand for it. Like most prohibitionist policies – whether we’re talking about the prohibition of drugs or alcohol, etc. – it’s only going to made the market for the product/service riskier while empowering organized criminals to serve it.

Schneider and his fellow politicians can pat themselves on the back for this pointless policy. And they’ll even be praised by the law enforcement and counseling industries because, let’s face it, this creates more revenue and authority for them. But in terms of actually addressing the problem of human trafficking? In terms of reducing the human misery and, at times, outright slavery involved with meeting the demand for sex services?

They’ve accomplished exactly nothing.