Translation(s): Prostituição de Rua (Compreender e Combater o Fenómeno) (Portuguese) PDF
This guide addresses the problem of street prostitution, focusing on female prostitutes and male clients. It begins by describing the problem and reviewing factors that contribute to it. It then identifies a series of questions to help you analyze your local problem. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem, and what is known about them from evaluative research and practice.
Street prostitution is only one of a number of sexual activity-related problems the police must address. This guide is limited to addressing the particular harms street prostitution creates. Related problems not directly addressed in this guide include
Some of these related problems are covered in other guides in this series, all of which are listed at the end of this guide. For the most up-to-date listing of current and future guides, see www.popcenter.org.
There are widely different perspectives on prostitution. Some view the prostitutes as primarily responsible for the problem; some view the clients as responsible, and the prostitutes as victims.† Others view prostitution as a private matter in which the state should not intervene. Community morals and beliefs about how the law should regulate morality will affect how any particular community addresses street prostitution. This guide does not adopt any particular moral perspective: It is intended to objectively inform you and other policymakers about the effectiveness and consequences of various approaches to controlling street prostitution. Before discussing response options, a general overview of the problem is provided.††
† For example, in Sweden, prostitution is officially considered a form of sexual violence against women. Prostitutes do not risk legal penalties. The public strongly supports this policy, with an 80 percent approval rate (Eckberg 2004).
†† The information in this section is drawn from many sources, not all of which are cited. Among the sources most heavily relied on are Benson and Matthews (1995); Cohen (1980); Matthews (1993) [Full text],[Briefing note]; May, Edmunds, and Hough (1999)[Full text],[Briefing note]; Sterk and Elifson (1990); van Gelder and Kaplan (1992); Weidner (2001); and Weitzer (2000).
Street prostitution varies across the individual prostitutes involved and their commitment to prostitution, the market size, the community’s tolerance levels, the degree to which prostitutes are organized, and the relationship of prostitution to drug use and trafficking. Street prostitution accounts for perhaps only 10 to 20 percent of all prostitution, but it has the most visible negative impact on the community.
The following are among the many reasons why the police should be concerned about street prostitution. 
Used condoms and syringes commonly found on the ground in street prostitution areas are unsightly and potentially hazardous. Photo: Bob Heimberger
† Contrary to popular belief, prostitution has not been demonstrated to be a primary means of HIV transmission, at least not in the United States, largely because most street prostitution sex acts are oral rather than vaginal (oral transmission is less likely), most prostitutes insist that clients use condoms (less true of drug-dependent prostitutes), and transmission is more difficult from female to male. Of course, fear of contracting HIV has likely changed the sex practices of some prostitutes and clients. HIV transmission among prostitutes is more likely to occur from sharing needles for drug injections (Weitzer 2000).
Understanding the factors that are known to contribute to your problem will help you frame your own local analysis questions, determine good effectiveness measures, recognize key intervention points, and select an appropriate set of responses for your particular problem. The literature on street prostitution provides a general picture of street prostitutes, clients, pimps, sexual transactions, areas where street prostitution thrives, and links between street prostitution and drugs.
Street prostitutes have lower status than indoor prostitutes. They are often in some state of personal decline (e.g., running away from abusive situations, becoming drug-dependent, deteriorating psychologically, and/or getting less physically attractive).  Most have social, economic, and health problems. Most first turn to prostitution at a young age, often before they are 18. 
Street prostitutes are not equally committed to prostitution: some are deeply committed for financial and lifestyle reasons; some are committed only due to drug dependency; and some are weakly committed, engaging in prostitution because it is the easiest way for them to make some money. Their inability to find adequately paying work elsewhere is the most common reason prostitutes give to explain their choice to work on the street.  Many prostitutes try to leave the streets, although they often return and then leave again. Most return to prostitution because their limited education and lack of skills make finding employment very difficult. Without a means to support themselves and their children, they may think staying on the streets is less risky than leaving prostitution. 
The typical street prostitute works six to eight hours a day, five to six days a week, and has three to five clients a night.  Street prostitutes’ lives are organized principally around prostitution itself, and around maneuvering through the legal system. It is a cycle of engaging in prostitution, getting arrested, going to jail, paying fines, and returning to the street.
Some street prostitutes are highly mobile, traveling from one city to another, sometimes on a regular circuit, or when they think the risks are too high in one city or the money is better in another.
Although most sexual encounters do not involve violence, most street prostitutes report having been criminally assaulted at least once by clients.  A small percentage of clients are likely responsible for most of the violence committed against prostitutes. The pattern of violence in pimp-prostitute relationships is similar to that of domestic violence. Prostitutes do not report most assaults to the police because they either fear retaliation by pimps or believe the police will not take the matter seriously, or will charge them for soliciting.  Both prostitutes and those who assault them may believe prostitutes are not entitled to the criminal justice systems’ normal protections. 
Prostitution clients, typically referred to as “johns” or “tricks,” are attracted to the illicit nature of the encounter, desire sex acts that regular partners do not provide, view sex as merely a commodity, and/or lack interest in or access to conventional relationships.  Others are drawn to the fact that no commitment is required, and view these interactions as less risky than having an affair.  Clients’ decision to solicit a prostitute is influenced by availability of prostitutes, knowledge of where to find them, access to money, perceived risk of getting caught or contracting disease, and ease of securing services. Clients gather such information in a variety of ways: from trial and error; from personal recommendations from others (including friends, bartenders, taxi drivers, and hotel workers); and, increasingly, from information posted on internet websites.
Somewhere around 10 to 20 percent of men admit they have paid for sex, but only about 1 percent pay for sex regularly.  While this is still a large number of potential clients, it is considerably lower than some earlier estimates based on flawed research methods. The characteristics of men arrested for soliciting vary considerably and do not form any clear patterns.  Many seek to rationalize their conduct to themselves and others. When stopped by police, clients often try to justify their behavior by telling a sob story of personal loss, or will admit to cruising but not soliciting, stating they were just curious.  Others resist the idea that prostitution is immoral.
Clients are more easily deterred than prostitutes.  They are more readily ashamed of their behavior, and fear harming their public reputation or their standing in their personal lives. Consequently, they fear being identified publicly more than being fined for their conduct.
It is unclear what percentage of street prostitutes have pimps; prostitutes are reluctant to talk to anyone about their pimps, and it is difficult for police to make cases against pimps. Pimps recruit and socialize prostitutes into the prostitution subculture by appealing to either their desire for money or their desire for what they believe will be a glamorous and exciting lifestyle. 
Pimps seldom procure clients for prostitutes, because clients do not typically want to associate with anyone other than the prostitute. Pimps do not offer prostitutes much protection against client violence, but do offer them protection against assault by other pimps.† Although classic pimp relationships still exist in both the United States and the United Kingdom, many men with serious drug addictions force their girlfriends into prostitution to support their drug habits. 
† One study found, however, that women with pimps experienced higher levels of client violence than those without pimps. Women with pimps tended to work in more dangerous areas and take more risks because of pressure to earn a certain amount of money (Norton-Hawk 2004).
Pimps use violence and drug dependency as means to control prostitutes. Many pimps resemble the batterers in domestic violence situations, and women under their control often react similarly to domestic violence victims.  They may express love and admiration for their pimps and may feel they deserve the violence. Pimps control both their freedom and their finances. By some estimates, pimps take 60 to 70 percent of prostitutes’ earnings.
The prices for sex acts vary a little from community to community. Depending on how desperate the prostitutes are for money, they typically charge $20 to $50 for oral sex, and $50 to $100 for sexual intercourse. Among crack-addicted prostitutes, the price can be as low as the market price for a single rock of crack cocaine. The typical sexual transaction takes around 10 minutes in a vehicle (usually for oral sex), and around 25 minutes indoors.
Street prostitution markets go through stages of development—they emerge, expand, stabilize, and disappear.  Sometimes they emerge by accident, when a few prostitutes happen upon a new location; sometimes they emerge because of changes in an area’s traffic or commercial patterns (e.g., new roadways or new businesses such as adult entertainment establishments); and sometimes they emerge because police enforcement displaced them. It is important that an area be known for street prostitution so clients will know where to look.
Street prostitution is more prevalent in run-down neighborhoods. Those that are populated heavily by unattached males are more vulnerable to street prostitution than those with a lot of women, families, or elderly residents, because the likelihood of vocal community opposition is lower. For street prostitution to thrive, the surrounding neighborhood cannot be too crime-ridden or appear too threatening to potential clients. Consequently, it is often found in areas that are marginal or in transition, rather than in thoroughly blighted areas. However, the emergence of street prostitution will almost certainly speed up decline. Neighborhood redevelopment or gentrification frequently prompts strong community opposition to street prostitution, and clearly drives much of the pressure on the police to control it.
Street prostitution areas are typically small, less than a square mile. Larger cities usually have several such areas. They are typically industrial sites; declining residential areas; those near major thoroughfares, including tunnels, bridges, or airport access roads; or those near transportation hubs, such as train and bus stations. Street prostitution flourishes around convention centers and hotels, especially when mostly male conventions are held.
Street prostitution thrives in areas where it does not conflict with legitimate business, but rather, supports and is supported by that business. The following foster street prostitution:
Street prostitution often thrives in areas where there are cheap motels and hotels. Photo: Bob Heimberger
Prostitutes usually take clients to places that minimize the risk of violence and ensure that transactions occur without incident.  These places are often near the street where the negotiation occurred so that the amount of time required for each transaction is limited. Most are out of sight of passersby but not so secluded that prostitutes will be unable to attract attention if they need help.
Street prostitution thrives along roads where prostitutes can talk to drivers from the curbside. Photo: Bob Morris
Street prostitution and street drug markets are often closely linked, supporting and reinforcing one another.  Many street prostitutes use illegal drugs, mainly methamphetamine, cocaine, or heroin. Many female serious drug users turn to prostitution at some point to finance their habit. Some prostitutes develop drug habits before turning to prostitution, while others start using drugs as part of the street prostitution lifestyle. Prostitutes are a significant customer base for street- level drug dealers.
Crack cocaine markets drive down the price of street prostitution, as some prostitutes, desperate to buy drugs, sell sex cheaply. Other prostitutes resent them for driving down prices or permitting sex without condoms, and pimps punish them for withholding their earnings to buy drugs. Drug-dependent prostitutes are more vulnerable to violence and more likely to rob their clients. In summary, where drugs and street prostitution are linked, street prostitution becomes less predictable and more dangerous.
The information provided above is only a generalized description of street prostitution. You must combine the basic facts with a more specific understanding of your local problem. Analyzing the local problem carefully will help you design a more effective response strategy.
Police are not solely responsible for addressing this problem. In addition to criminal justice agencies, the following groups have an interest in the street prostitution problem, and you should consider the contribution they might make to gathering information about the problem and responding to it:
The following are some critical questions you should ask in analyzing your particular problem of street prostitution, even if the answers are not always readily available. Your answers to these and other questions will help you choose the most appropriate set of responses later on.
There are many ways to enlist community members in the task of gathering information to document the problem’s scope.  These include using handheld video cameras to record activity, taking guided walks with police to identify areas where residents feel unsafe, highlighting trouble spots on neighborhood maps, and using data collection forms to record the date, time, and nature of events they witness.
† The Raleigh (North Carolina) Police Department conducted a problem-solving project using this guide’s first edition. Refer to Weisel (2004) for an excellent example of adapting the processes described here to local conditions. The report also contains useful sample survey tools for prostitutes and clients.
You should take measures of your problem before you implement responses, to determine how serious the problem is, and after you implement them, to determine whether they have been effective. Measurement allows you to determine to what degree your efforts have succeeded and suggests how you might modify your responses if they are not producing the intended results. There are various ways to quantify the size and scope of the problem to establish a baseline. You could track the total number of police contacts with prostitutes in the past 12 months, the number of prostitutes regularly seen or cautioned in an area, or the average number of women working on any given night. These data will be useful for different purposes: to estimate social service needs, as a point of reference for enforcement operations, or as a measure of police effectiveness.  †For more detailed guidance on measuring effectiveness, see the companion guide to this series, Assessing Responses to Problems: An Introductory Guide for Police Problem-Solvers.
† The Deter and Identify Sex Trade Consumers database, accessed by 36 police agencies across Canada and the United States, provides information on prostitutes and clients to support police investigations [Vancouver (British Columbia) Police Department Vice Unit 2002]. To be most effective, as many jurisdictions as possible need to use and receive information from multijurisdiction databases. In addition, data fields must be sufficiently detailed and data entry must be monitored for quality control.
The following are potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to street prostitution:
† Depending on the response strategy, arrests (and rearrests) of prostitutes and clients may increase initially. Over time, if the responses are effective, you should observe a reduction in the number of arrests.
†† Responses that reduce the number of prostitutes working in an area tend to drive prices up, whereas responses that reduce the number of clients soliciting in a particular area tend to drive prices down.
Your analysis of your local problem should give you a better understanding of the Your analysis of your local problem should give you a better understanding of the factors that are contributing to it. Once you have analyzed your local problem and established a baseline for measuring effectiveness, you should consider possible responses to address the problem.
The following response strategies provide a foundation of ideas for addressing your particular problem. These strategies are drawn from a variety of research studies and police reports. Several of these strategies may apply to your community’s particular problem. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem. Do not limit yourself to considering what police can do to better address the problem: carefully consider who else in your community shares responsibility for the problem and can help police better respond to it. The responsibility of responding, in some cases, may need to be shifted toward those who have the capacity to implement more effective responses. (For more detailed information on shifting and sharing responsibility, see Response Guide No. 3, Shifting and Sharing Responsibility for Public Safety Problems).
You should consider a few general principles when developing your response strategy. Which particular responses you adopt should depend on what you learn from a careful analysis of your local problem. The responses selected should be carefully focused on the angle of the problem that you are trying to resolve. Strategies seeking to reduce the harms caused by and experienced by prostitutes are more likely to work than those seeking to eliminate prostitution altogether. Strategies focused exclusively on arresting prostitutes are unlikely to be effective.  At a minimum, both prostitutes’ and clients’ conduct should be addressed. An effective strategy not only must force prostitutes off the streets and get them to stop their offensive behavior, but also must give them viable alternatives: either to get out of prostitution altogether, or to operate in less-offensive locations, times, or ways. This usually requires greater cooperation between the police and various service organizations.  The most effective responses to the problem of street prostitution rely heavily on social services for prostitutes to encourage their permanent exit from the street. Police must work closely with service providers to ensure the various enforcement- and treatment-based responses are well-coordinated.†The transient nature of street prostitution and the fact that some responses may lead to displacement mean that jurisdictions must share information to make a significant regional impact on the problem.
† The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (North Carolina) Police Department’s multiagency response to street prostitution required social service providers to ride with police officers in the patrol districts implementing the program. These ride-alongs helped to create mutual understanding and appreciation for each stakeholder’s role in the program (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department 2003).
† See Response Guide No. 1, The Benefits and Consequences of Police Crackdowns, for further discussion of how crackdowns work.
However, street prostitutes can provide valuable information to police about other crimes, and the threat of enforcement gives the police leverage for information. In some jurisdictions, controlling street prostitution is left to the vice squad. Limiting patrol officers’ involvement is intended to reduce corruption, but it can give the public the impression that only corrupt officers would ignore the problem. Whether using patrol or specially trained vice officers, police agencies should properly train, supervise, and monitor officers’ performance to reduce the likelihood of misconduct.
Historically, the police have arrested far more prostitutes than clients, although many police agencies have shifted toward a more balanced enforcement strategy, targeting clients as well as prostitutes. To promote a consistent response and improve the chances for successful prosecutions, police agencies should prepare written guidelines governing how and under what circumstances they will enforce prostitution laws.††
†† The Cleveland (England) Police Department’s Middlesbrough Police District scheduled all defendants charged with soliciting for court on the same day. Concentrating the cases in this way helped judges to become aware of the problem’s scope, ensured consistent sanctions, and raised media interest and, as a result, public awareness (Cleveland Police, Middlesbrough Police District 2000).
† The particular statutory and evidentiary requirements vary across jurisdictions. United Kingdom police do not use this strategy because neither prostitution itself nor proposing the exchange of sex for money is illegal. Prostitutes use a variety of methods to determine if a prospective client is an undercover police officer, including exposing themselves or asking the client/ officer to expose himself. The city of St. Petersburg, Florida passed an ordinance that specifically mentioned prostitutes’ efforts to identify police officers as among the behaviors that constitute a “verified pattern of solicitation activity.”
Intensive arrest campaigns may inadvertently increase the risk of harm street prostitutes face.  To avoid police detection and to compensate for the reduced number of men soliciting services, prostitutes may work longer hours in more isolated, unfamiliar, or unsafe areas. The clientele in these areas may be unfamiliar, and yet the prostitutes may not take their usual safety precautions. As a result of increased competition for fewer clients, some prostitutes lower their prices, and thus must work in these conditions for longer periods to earn the same amount of money.
† See National Research Council (2004) for further discussion of the effectiveness of so-called “hot-spots policing.”
† See Problem-Specific Guide No. 38, The Exploitation of Trafficked Women.
† In San Diego, California, men charged with soliciting are required to appear before a panel consisting of community members, prosecutors, public health workers, social service staff who work with prostitutes, and police (San Diego Police Department and San Diego City Attorney’s Office 2003). Men charged with soliciting in Indianapolis, Indiana, are required to return to the community in which the offense occurred to publicly face area residents and to perform community service work there (American Prosecutors Research Institute 2004).
Local street patrols conducted by community members can also provide valuable information to police.†By recording the nature and volume of activity, these patrols can help police decide where to target their efforts. Effective patrols are difficult to establish and maintain without a highly committed leader to recruit, organize, and mobilize members. 
† See Campbell (2001) for specific guidance on developing community leadership skills to address prostitution and a variety of other nuisance problems.
Certain groups are especially vulnerable to being recruited or drawn to street prostitution, among them juvenile offenders, juvenile runaways, and juveniles in group homes (residential custody). Young people at high risk for being recruited into prostitution usually have multiple critical social and psychological problems that require attention if they are to be kept out of prostitution. Addressing them requires that police develop effective partnerships with schools, the juvenile justice system, and child welfare systems.
Among the high-risk client groups are male conventioneers, male soldiers, and previously arrested clients. The education and warning information can be conveyed through letters, lectures, video presentations, billboards, warning signs, or media outlets. A growing number of jurisdictions have established court-ordered education programs for convicted clients. These so-called “john schools” confront prostitution clients about the consequences of their behavior.  They usually include information about the legal and health consequences for clients, the impact of street prostitution on the community and local businesses, and the negative effects of prostitution on prostitutes. Many programs have led to positive changes in attitude among participants and enjoy substantial support from participants, stakeholders, and the public. The program fees charged to clients are often used to support services designed to help prostitutes to leave the trade. Recidivism rates for clients who participate in court-ordered education programs are low (around 2% to 7%).  It is less clear what added deterrent value there is in the education program beyond what is achieved by any official intervention, from a warning to an arrest.  Further, official recidivism statistics may not reflect actual behavior because they are driven by the enforcement level, which varies over time.  Finally, “john schools” do not specifically target potentially violent clients and therefore may deter only those least likely to victimize the prostitutes they solicit. 
In several jurisdictions, the police have coordinated with merchants whose business is negatively affected by street prostitution to obtain restraining orders against prostitutes, prohibiting them from engaging in specific behavior within a specific area.  In San Bernardino, California, certain existing municipal codes have been incorporated into court-ordered civil injunctions against known prostitutes. Violations of the restraining orders result in jail time and fines that exceed the usual penalties.
The specific prohibitions mentioned in the San Bernardino restraining order are:
You should consult with legal counsel about the requirements for obtaining restraining orders. It may also take a lot of time and effort to obtain the documentation necessary for a restraining order.
† The Prostitution Empowerment, Education, and Resources Society (PEERS) in Victoria, British Columbia helps women quit street prostitution in favor of mainstream employment. The program was specifically designed by and for women involved in prostitution who were deterred from using other non-prostitution-specific services (Rabinovitz and Strega 2004).
Key services include the following:
Some communities offer a service-and-support network through either precharge or postcharge diversion programs, and some even offer these programs on the street, with no formal connection to the criminal justice system.  Although these programs do not necessarily persuade many prostitutes to quit, they are essential for those motivated to do so, and they can be effective in reducing some of the risks to street prostitutes, such as sexually transmitted disease and assault. 
† Merseyside, England police developed a computer application to systematically collate reports of crime committed by clients so that this information can be used across the region (Penfold et al. 2004).
Police might also support efforts to promote caution in dealing with clients by prostitutes who insist on continuing their trade. This might include encouraging prostitutes to do the following:
The New Westminster (British Columbia) Police Service developed a voluntary forensic identification registry for prostitutes. In the event that women working the streets are abducted or go missing, police have a photograph, fingerprints, DNA sample, and physical description to use when investigating the disappearance. This effort greatly improved relations between police and prostitutes by demonstrating police concern for prostitutes’ safety. The strategy also increased prostitutes’ willingness to provide information on various crimes. The media’s interest in this initiative may have also deterred potentially violent clients. 
Obviously, some people will object to police efforts to protect prostitutes, believing that doing so condones prostitution.
Clients are generally more easily deterred than prostitutes.  Almost any form of official or community intervention in clients’ behavior is sufficient to deter most clients from patronizing street prostitutes, at least at a particular location. This offers some justification for focusing responses on clients. However, since there are many more potential clients than street prostitutes, deterring individual clients does not necessarily reduce the overall demand for street prostitution.  To deter potential clients, they must believe there is a high likelihood they will be caught and publicly identified.
Some police agencies and local governments have publicized the names and photographs of clients who are either arrested for and/or convicted of prostitution-related offenses. The names and photographs may appear on television, in newspapers, or on internet websites.†Many media outlets, however, refuse to participate, deeming it unnewsworthy and not wanting to appear to be an agent of the government. Some local governments have purchased advertising space to publish the information. There should be safeguards so that innocent people are not unfairly implicated or accused in illegal activity.†† Further, once a client has faced publicity from an initial arrest, he has little to lose, and subsequent threats of publicity are unlikely to be effective. 
† In 2003 in Omaha, Nebraska, billboards with the slogan “If you are convicted of soliciting a prostitute, you will see your name here” publicized the names of six to 12 offenders at a time (Hughes 2004). In Akron, Ohio, the “Operation John Be Gone” website, which posted the photographs of men charged with soliciting a prostitute, drew more than 100,000 hits in its first year online (MacMillan 2005).
†† See Persons (1996) for a thorough discussion of the effectiveness and legality of publicizing prostitution clients’ names.
† See Response Guide No. 2, Closing Streets and Alleys to Reduce Crime, for further discussion of how this response works.
† See Response Guide No. 4, Video Surveillance of Public Places, for further discussion of police use of CCTV.
† Legalization implies that the government will regulate various aspects of prostitution, just as it regulates other forms of commerce. Decriminalization implies no government regulation.
†† Prostitution itself is not illegal in either the United Kingdom or Canada, as it is in most of the United States, but nearly all forms of soliciting prostitution on the street are illegal, so the net effect is substantially the same—street prostitution is outlawed. Prostitution has been legalized in the Netherlands and recently decriminalized in New Zealand. In Sweden, selling sexual services is legal, but buying them is illegal. Some forms of indoor prostitution have been made legal in Victoria, Australia, but street prostitution remains illegal. The legalization of prostitution in several Nevada counties has not eliminated the problems associated with street prostitution in the cities of Reno and Las Vegas.
This review of prostitution by the John Howard Society of Alberta discusses factors that lead to involvement in prostitution, legislative options for dealing with the problem, and alternatives to criminalization.
Department of Justice, Canada (1998). Federal / Provincial / Territorial Working Group on Prostitution: Report and Recommendations in respect of Legislation, Policy and Practices Concerning Prostitution-Related Activities. http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/nr/1998/toc.html
Prostitution Research and Education - http://www.prostitutionresearch.com/
Gnagey, J.M. and Leonhard, C. (1994). “ Travel Restrictions for Convicted Prostitutes.” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 36(6):16-26.
May, T., A. Harocopos, and P. J. Turnbull (2001). Selling Sex in the City: An Evaluation of a Targeted Arrest Referral Scheme for Sex Workers in Kings Cross. Social Science Research Papers PDF, No. 14. London: South Bank University.
Memphis Shelby Crime Commission. Controlling Prostitution: A Multi-Modality Approach. http://www.memphiscrime.org/research/whitepapers/wp8.html
In Tampa, Florida, the neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights has an organized grass-roots effort to combat prostitution in their community. http://www.geocities.com/dbanghart/prostitution.html
Police in Vancouver, Canada, successfully used a multi-jurisdictional database to track pimps, johns, and prostitutes.
In Fresno, California, johns arrested for the first time were permitted to take a one-day diversionary education program.
The West Palm Beach Police Department, in Florida, has two programs designed to target prostitutes and their customers.
P.R.E.P. – Prostitute Relocation and Enforcement Program - http://wpbpolice.tripod.com/prep.html
P.I.P.E. – Prostitute Impact Prevention Education - http://www.wpbpolice.org/
The table below summarizes the responses to street prostitution, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.
|Deterring Prostitutes and Clients|
|#||Response||How It Works||Works Best If...||Considerations|
|1||Enforcing laws prohibiting soliciting, patronizing and loitering for the purposes of prostitution||Temporarily removes prostitutes and clients from the streets||…there are follow-up programs to help prostitutes quit or switch to indoor venues, and enforcement is combined with other effective responses||Strategy is expensive; has only a short-term impact; may increase prostitution by displacing the problem to new locations, and by compelling prostitutes to work more to pay fines|
|1a||Enforcing laws prohibiting prostitution and the solicitation thereof||Temporarily removes prostitutes and clients from the streets; increases the costs of business; deters arrested clients from reoffending||…a prosecution will result in meaningfuldifficult sanctions against the prostitute, and the pool of potential clients is relatively small||Strategy is expensive; to obtain admissible evidence; jail time is usually limited or none; discourages prostitutes from calling police when they are victims; creates additional incentives to engage in prostitution to pay fines; prosecutors may elect not to prosecute; the population of potential clients is large enough that general deterrence is difficult to achieve solely by arrest strategies; arresting clients requires a sufficient number of female police officers; undercover assignment not popular among police|
|1b||Enforcing laws prohibiting conduct associated with prostitution and the solicitation thereof||Deters prostitutes from soliciting and clients from searching for prostitutes on the streets, without requiring proof of actual sexual transactions||…a prosecution will result in meaningful difficult sanctions against the prostitute, and the pool of potential clients is relatively small||Legality (courts have struck down such laws for being either vague or overly broad); the population of potential clients is large enough that general deterrence is difficult to achieve solely by arrest strategies|
|1c||Intensively enforcing prostitution laws against prostitutes and/or clients for short periods||Temporarily removes prostitutes from the streets; deters potential clients from frequenting the area||…there is media coverage, and the campaign is followed by changes to the environment where the street prostitution occurs||Media coverage can have the opposite effect of promoting prostitution by advertising the location of prostitution prostitution strolls; may increase the risk of harm faced by prostitutes by forcing them to work in unfamiliar areas|
|2||Establishing a highly visible police presence||Discourages both prostitutes and clients from negotiations||…it is followed by changes to the environment where street prostitution occurs||Labor intensive; creates the perception that the area is unsafe|
|3||Relaxing the regulation of indoor prostitution venues||Gives street prostitutes some incentive to relocate to indoors||...street prostitutes are able to work indoors||May be perceived as condoning prostitution; in concern to police for their role in sexual door venues are of serious exploitation of trafficked women|
|4||Enhancing fines/penalties for prostitution- related offenses committed within specified high- activity zones||Displaces the street prostitution market from a particular area||…it is followed by changes to the environment where street prostitution occurs||Displacement may be to areas where the impact is even worse|
|5||Banning prostitutes or clients from certain areas||Reduces the opportunities for prostitutes and clients to solicit and patronize||…there is adequate monitoring of bans and good physical descriptions of offenders||Requires legal authority; may displace prostitutes to new areas outside the prohibited zone, which, if remote, may prove more hazardous to them|
|6||Using community justice panels and community service sentences in lieu of incarceration or fines||Creates meaningful consequences for prostitutes’ and clients’ offending; consumes prostitutes’ time||…there is adequate monitoring of compliance with sentences, and community members are willing to serve on panels||Requires monitoring by the court and corrections officials|
|7||Enlisting community members to provide surveillance or to publicly protest against prostitutes or clients||Creates the impression that offenders will be constantly monitored and reported; increases the pressure on public officials to address the problem||…the community is willing to sustain protests and remain lawful, and police maintain supervision and oversight||Risks of overzealousness (vigilantism); displacement to other locations; street patrols require committed leaders to recruit, organize, and mobilize members|
|8||Educating and warning high-risk prostitute and client populations||Deters young people from getting into prostitution; discourages potential clients; education programs for arrested clients deter repeat offending||…there is evidence of the recruitment of prostitutes from
populations, the messages are carefully tailored to the target audience, and there are adequate resources to run education programs
|Young people at seriously high risk usually have several critical social problems that require attention if they are to be kept out of prostitution; costs of running programs; adequate deterrence may be achieved by any form of official intervention; schools do not target clients at highest risk of violence|
|#||Response||How It Works||Works Best If...||Considerations|
|9||Serving restraining orders/civil injunctions against habitual prostitutes||Effectively controls and deters the activities of large numbers of prostitutes working in a particular area; conserves police resources by focusing on the most problematic offenders||…complainants are willing to file for court orders, and there are small numbers of chronic offenders||Labor-intensive and costly to document people and activities; legality varies by jurisdiction|
|10||Mediating conflicts between prostitutes and the community||Keeps prostitutes away from the areas of highest citizen complaints, or from engaging in the most offensive behaviors||…the community is willing to tolerate some level of street prostitution||
Difficult to get prostitutes to adhere to agreements
|11||Imposing curfews on prostitutes||Restricts prostitutes’ working hours||…there are short periods during which street prostitution is most prevalent||Requires a judicial order as a condition of bail or probation; requires monitoring by police or corrections officials|
|12||Helping prostitutes to quit||Provides prostitutes with support services to enable them to leave prostitution; health screening and education prevents the spread of sexually transmitted diseases||…programs are prostitution-specific and easily accessible, and there are sufficient sanctions for noncompliance||Street prostitutes, especially juveniles and those managed by pimps, are difficult to persuade; privacy considerations; prostitutes can be hard to reach and/or reluctant to accept treatment (e.g., for fear of losing custody of their children)|
|13||Encouraging prostitutes to report serious offenses to the police||Improves the police ability to investigate serious offenses that might otherwise go unreported and/or unsolved||…police can establish a sufficient level of trust among prostitutes||Prostitutes’ giving evidence against pimps increases the risks of violent retaliation|
|14||Helping prostitutes avoid dangerous clients and situations||Reduces the risk of physical assaults to prostitutes||…police can establish a sufficient level of trust among prostitutes||Police can be accused of condoning prostitution|
|#||Response||How It Works||Works Best If...||Considerations|
|15||Exposing clients to publicity||Shames clients to deter them from re-offending; discourages potential clients||…the community and media support public shaming, and most clients solicit from vehicles||Media reluctance to publicize information deemed unnewsworthy; risks arousing suspicions against innocent people; legal restrictions; privacy concerns; the potential for geographic displacement; deterrent value is lost after first exposure|
|16||Notifying those with influence over clients’ conduct||Creates meaningful consequences for clients’ conduct||…clients are influenced by informal social controls||The penalty (e.g., getting fired) may be harsher than some believe is fair|
|17||Restricting clients' ability to drive||Deters curb-crawling (driving at a slow speed with the primary purpose of observing and/or making contact with a prostitute)||...most clients solicit from vehicles||Legal challenges and restrictions; low rates of compliance with license suspensions and revocations|
|Changing the Environment|
|#||Response||How It Works||Works Best If...||Considerations|
|18||Closing streets and alleys, diverting traffic, or regulating parking||Increases the difficulty for clients to find and negotiate with prostitutes||…the community the changes affect supports them, and most clients solicit from vehicles||Potentially costly; can harm residential and legitimate commercial traffic; may lock the problem in rather than forcing it out, by creating an inaccessible enclave; slowing traffic may be conducive to curb-crawling|
|19||Enforcing zoning, nuisance abatement, and business license regulations against properties used for prostitution||Restricts the availability of locations for sexual activities; discourages the use of motels and hotels for prostitution||…sexual transactions take place on properties subject to regulation||Civil law processes can be cumbersome and unfamiliar to police; requires support from government lawyers|
|20||Warning property owners about the use of their premises for prostitution||Improves property owners’ capacity or willingness to prohibit prostitution-related activities on their property||…sexual transactions take place on those properties||Some property owners may feel they are being unfairly accused|
|21||Redeveloping the area economy||Promotes legitimate activity to displace illegitimate activity||…improvements will substantially change the conditions that allow street prostitution to flourish||Costly in the short term; potential displacement to more vulnerable areas|
|22||Securing abandoned buildings||Keeps prostitutes and clients from having private places for sexual transactions||…sexual transactions take place in abandoned buildings||Costs of securing buildings; potential displacement to other locations|
|23||Enhancing surveillance with improved lighting and CCTV||Improves the area’s appearance; improves natural surveillance to deter prostitution||…lighting is inadequate, and sexual transactions take place in dark, secluded places||Costs of lighting; may backfire by increasing perceptions of safety and drawing more activity to the area|
|24||Providing trash cans||Encourages the proper disposal of hazardous items||…they are placed near where sexual transactions occur||Must be emptied regularly; police may be accused of condoning prostitution|
|Responses With Limited Effectiveness|
|#||Response||How It Works||Works Best If...||Considerations|
|25||Conducting sweeps||Temporarily removes prostitutes and clients from the streets||Undermines the criminal justice system and police integrity; the risks of arresting innocent people|
|26||Harassing and intimidating prostitutes||Discourages prostitutes from offending||Undermines police integrity; geographically displaces the problem|
|27||Suspending or revoking government aid to prostitutes||Encourages prostitutes to quit||…prostitutes are receiving significant amounts of aid without reporting prostitution income, and aid agencies are willing to take action||Implications for dependent children; requires adequate social service follow-up; may have opposite effect of promoting more prostitution to replace lost income|
|28||Establishing formal or informal red-light districts where street prostitution is tolerated||Reduces nuisance complaints; increases the police ability to monitor street prostitution and related crime||…the community is willing to tolerate some level of street prostitution, and the red-light district can be adequately policed and will not attract additional clients from other communities||Legality (ruled unconstitutional in Canada as a local option); the expansion of street prostitution out of the tolerance zones; lack of public support; ineffective in reducing nuisance complaints or harm to prostitutes under some conditions;|
|29||Legalizing and decriminalizing prostitution||Legalization subjects prostitution to administrative regulation||Not politically feasible in foreseeable future in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada|
 Goldstein (1990).
 Melrose (2003).
 Romero-Daza, Weeks, and Singer (2003); Dalla, Zia, and Kennedy (2003); Kurtz et al. (2004); Penfold et al. (2004); Surrat et al. (2004).
 Church et al. (2001); Penfold et al. (2004).
 Kurtz et al. (2004).
 Monto (2004).
 Weitzer (2000); Brooks-Gordon and Gelsthorpe (2003a).
 Monto (2004).
 Brooks-Gordon and Gelsthorpe (2003b).
 Williamson and Cluse-Tolar (2002).
 Williamson and Cluse-Tolar (2002).
 Cohen (1980).
 Hubbard and Sanders (2003).
 Matthews (2005).
 Benson and Matthews (2000).
 Dodge, Star-Gimeno, and Williams (2005).
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The quality and focus of these submissions vary considerably. With the exception of those submissions selected as winners or finalists, these documents are unedited and are reproduced in the condition in which they were submitted. They may nevertheless contain useful information or may report innovative projects.
6100 Block of Charlotte Project [Goldstein Award Finalist], Kansas City Police Department (MO, US), 1995
Deter and Identify Sex-Trade Consumers (D.I.S.C.), Vancouver Police Department (BC, CA), 2002
Federal Highway Project, Hollywood Police Department (FL, US), 1998
Glitter Track Project [Goldstein Award Finalist], San Diego Police Department (CA, US), 1994
Healthy Options Promoting Esteem (HOPE), St. Petersburg Police Department (FL, US), 1997
Mid-City Neighborhood Prosecution Team, San Diego Police Department (CA, US), 2003
Multi Agency Action Against Prostitution, Cleveland Police Department (Middlesbrough, UK), 1999
Multi-Agency Action Against Prostitution Project (MAP Project), Cleveland Police Department (Middlesbrough, UK), 2000
Neighborhood Policing Team: Roosevelt Avenue Project, National City Police Department (CA, US), 1997
Operation Auckland, Cleveland Police (Middlesbrough, UK), 2004
Operation Dragnet, Raleigh Police Department (NC, US), 2006
Operation ETON: Tackling Street Prostitution, Lancashire Constabulary (Lancashire, UK), 2003
Operation Focus 2000, Chattanooga Police Department (TN, US), 2000
Operation Kerb [Goldstein Award Finalist], Lancashire Constabulary (Lancashire, UK), 2003
Operation Plastic Empire, Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation (FL, US), 1997
Paradise Motel Community Improvement Project, National City Police Department (CA, US), 2002
Problem-Oriented Policing Project #99-600, Joliet Police Department (IL, US), 2000
Problem Solving Partnership Shuts Door on Illegal Massage Parlor, Metropolitan Police District of Columbia (Washington, DC), 2001
Project Middleton, Durham Regional Police Service (ON, CA), 2011
Project PAR: Prostitution Abatement and Rehabilitation First Offender Program, Fresno Police Department (CA, US), 1999
Prostitution Exclusion Zone, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (NC, US), 2006
Prostitution Restraining Order Program, San Bernardino Police Department (CA, US), 1999
Prostitution Study Team, Calgary Police Service (AB, CA), 2000
Prostitution: The World's Oldest Profession, Springfield Police Department (IL, US), 1999
Safer Sex Works, Lancashire Constabulary (Lancashire, UK), 2004
South Central Neighborhood Project [Goldstein Award Finalist], Wichita Police Department (KS, US), 1996
South Congress Prostitution Project, Austin Police Department (TX, US), 1999
Street Crimes Unit Project: Reducing Prostitution and Vice Related Crimes in Central Sector, Orlando Police Department (FL, US), 2002
Street Prostitution: Viable Solutions to Solving the Problem, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office (CA, US), 2002
The Forensic Identification Registry for Sex Trade Workers (FIRST), New Westminster Police Service (BC, CA), 2002
The Haulgh: Managing Prostitution, Regenerating the Community, Bolton Police (Bolton, UK), 2004
The McLeod Center Partnership, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (NC, US), 2003
The Paseo West Corridor Project, Kansas City Police Department (MO, US), 1998
The Prostitution Dilemma, Aurora Police Department (CO, US), 1996
The Three P's Project: Pimps, Prostitutes, and Pushers, Tucson Police Department (AZ, US), 1999
The True Cost of Prostitution: Court Costs and Vice Unit Strategies, Edmonton Police Service (AB, US), 1995
Workable Solutions to the Problem of Street Prostitution in Buffalo, N.Y. [Goldstein Award Finalist], Buffalo Police Department (NY, US), 2001
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