Los Angeles Considers ‘John Letters’ to Fight Prostitution

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Johns’ May Get Unwanted Mail at Home From City.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles is considering sending “Dear John” letters to the homes of men who solicit prostitutes hoping the mail will be opened by mothers, girlfriends or wives. LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group.Men who cruise streets where prostitutes beckon may soon get letters from the City of Los Angeles in their home mailboxes, under a proposal from the city council, it was reported Thursday.

The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez said. But privacy advocates blasted the proposal to use automated license plate readers to generate the letters, which would be aimed at shaming “Johns” by alerting their wives, mothers or girlfriends as they open the mail, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

In a statement issued by her office Wednesday, Martinez said, “If you aren’t soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox. In some communities, residents are encouraged to jot down the license numbers of cars they see engaging in suspicious activity and provide it to police. The “john letters” are typically written in a cordial tone and make it clear that police do not assume the owner of the vehicle was the person driving it. “It is a common myth that prostitution is a ‘victimless crime’ or that it is ‘an act between two consenting adults,’” one sample letter used by a police agency in Florida states. “Prostitution is a crime which is linked to drugs (use and sale), acts of violence toward prostitutes and their customers, and in the worst case, human trafficking in juveniles for the sex trade.” “Let’s say that letter comes in and your wife, your girlfriend or mother gets it,” said Cindy Sower, a Sun Valley business owner who applauded the proposal. “Maybe it’s a wake-up call.” The suit demands the release of a week’s worth of license plate data accumulated through the use of the plate readers, and accuses the agencies of violating the California Public Records Act by withholding the data. Law agencies won a lower court ruling denying access to the records collected on the basis that they were “investigative records.” But in late July, the state Supreme Court decided to examine the lawsuit, the foundation’s attorney, Jennifer Lynch, said.

Lynch stated the technology could create a detailed database of a driver’s movements which could disclose things like a medical clinic the driver visits, their place of worship, political meetings attended, as well as the locations of friends, family and associates. Such so-called “John Letters” have been sent to either suspected or known sex buyers in several jurisdictions, according to 2012 report by the National Institute of Justice. (©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc.

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