Last Tuesday, the city quietly held the first session of its newly created "john school," a kind of reeducation camp for prostitutes' clients. One john attended, according to Terri Kimball, who oversees the program for the city's Human Services Department. Two more had been referred by Municipal Court, but they were immigrants who were deported before the day-long session.
It's a modest start, but even that looked like it might not happen back in May. After requesting bids for service following a City Council mandate for the school, the city initially heard from no one who wanted to work with johns. A chemical dependency counselor read about the lack of interest in the Daily Weekly and offered to teach the class. The city snapped her up, and also hired her to teach a new "sex workers school," which hasn't started yet.
"She's really very good," says Kimball, who describes the teacher's job as showing johns the impact of prostitution on the women who work in the sex trade. "A lot of johns think this is a victimless crime," she says. A police officer also visits the class to discuss prostitution laws. A therapist does so to talk about healthy sexual relationships. And the county Health Department has prepared a video for the school on sexually transmitted diseases.
Kimball says she eventually expects 10 johns at each monthly session.