Inland Empire News
San Bernardino puts mugshots of prostitution 'johns' on website
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Soliciting a prostitute in San Bernardino County can now get you more than jail time: It can get your face and name on the Internet. The county says it is outing "johns" to try to address an even bigger problem than prostitution.
To many, the solicitation of a prostitute may not seem like a serious crime. After all, it's only a misdemeanor. The punishment is up to six months in jail.
But if you're convicted in San Bernardino County, in addition to jail time, you'll also have your name and picture posted on the Internet for all the world to see.
"I really believe it's going to be a huge deterrent," said San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos.
Ramos says San Bernardino County is the first county in the state to try this. And this week the first picture of someone convicted of soliciting a prostitute has been posted on the D.A.'s website.
Ramos says the reason he's taking such a hard stand against a misdemeanor crime is that while many of these so-called "johns" may not realize it, they're actually fueling demand for human-trafficking rings.
"We really have to attack the front end of this problem in human trafficking," said Ramos. "We're doing a great job on the suppression side, putting these traffickers in prison. We are now changing the way we look at the young girls as victims. But really to stop the problem is the demand side of it. How do we hold these people responsible and stop it from happening in the first place?"
Ramos says there are close to 15 solicitation cases working their way through the court system currently, so while there may only be one picture on the D.A.'s website right now, there could be many more very soon.
inland empire news, rob mcmillan
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