The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation released a report today documenting an ongoing dialogue amongst johns in Illinois.
You can read the organization’s report here: “Our Great Hobby”: An Analysis of Online Networks for Buyers of Sex in Illinois.”
Be advised: it chronicles a frank and disturbing dialogue amongst men who purchase sex, including depictions of what could fairly be classified as rape.
CAASE researcher Lara Janson, a PhD student at the University of Chicago, analyzed posts on the Illinois forums of the USA Sex Guide from June 1, 2010-August 31, 2010, to gain a better understanding of how johns communicate.
Janson also checked the boards from September 2009 through July 2011 to find out how johns were responding to legislative policy and law enforcement developments affecting prostitution.
Here are some of the report’s key findings, detailed online:
Johns created more than 2,600 posts about buying sex in Illinois in the three-month period studied.
Men in the Illinois forums of the USA Sex Guide discuss buying sex in venues throughout the state, both on the street and in seemingly legitimate businesses like massage establishments and strip clubs.
Johns post about buying sex in communities throughout Illinois. During the three-month period researched, Chicago had the most posts, with Rockford, Melrose Park, Washington Park, Lombard and Bloomington ranking next with the most numbers of posts.
Johns describe how these online forums facilitate buying sex. Whereas in the past men who bought sex learned about strategies and dangers of buying commercial sex primarily through their own personal trial and error, johns today can learn from the successes and failures of other men.
The johns discuss buying sex from women and girls who are potentially minors, victims of trafficking or under pimp control.
There are many descriptions of violence perpetrated against women and girls in the sex trade, either by the johns themselves, or by pimps or others.
Johns discuss law enforcement efforts to curb prostitution. Their remarks show which efforts are effective in deterring them from buying sex, and others that are not:
When law enforcement conducts “reverse stings” that target men who buy sex, it creates energetic discussions among johns about whether or not to continue buying sex.
Conversely, law enforcement policies that target prostituted women and girls or primarily men of color who buy sex do not appear to deter the men on these boards from purchasing sex.
For a lot of these men, buying sex is considered “fun conquest, adventure, sport or hobby,” Janson said at a press conference downtown.
CAASE Executive Director Rachel Durchslag called on law enforcement to devote more resources to investigating and prosecuting johns, stop arresting prostituted people, and invest in programs to raise awareness in young man about sexual exploitation.