Controversy continues to swirl in many quarters about the law-enforcement approach to prostitution.
Some people feel it's a victimless crime that police should treat as such rather than wasting resources on what is essentially a moral crusade.
Others believe arrests and stings are a worthwhile way to fight human trafficking, disrupt the mistreatment and exploitation of the individuals (mostly women) in the trade, and slow the coarsening of societal values, as long as the authorities don't ignore the people (usually men) who solicit such services.
Now, the Colorado Springs Police Department has waded into the debate by making examples of six local men who've recently been convicted for solicitation of prostitution.
The CSPD has posted booking photos of the sextet on its Facebook page along with a release that touts its Human Trafficking Investigation Team, a unit formed last year "to address an increase in the commercial sex trade in the Pikes Peak area. In their first year, the team made numerous felony and misdemeanor arrests for trafficking related charges such as Pimping, Prostitution and Soliciting for Prostitution."
The release goes on to say that the initiative is being pressed as a way of working toward "the best possible outcome for the victims of this crime," adding, "Research has identified one approach that has proven to be effective in reducing the demand for commercialized sex. This approach is the public release of sex customer’s information."
The first six johns highlighted by the CSPD will presumably be the first of many to receive such treatment.
Is this a good idea? Decide for yourself after checking out their mug shots, supplemented by arrest information from the department.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.