Women in Denver are arrested for prostitution-related crimes more often than men and are punished more harshly, according to " Who Pays? The question of why is still a bit of a mystery, but researchers think it may be tied to perceptions of prostitutes as drug-addicted criminals and johns as regular guys. One police officer interviewed for the study said johns were typically described as someone with "a wife, two kids, white picket fence and two dogs in the yard.
The study analyzed 2, arrests made by the Denver police between andin addition to cases filed in Denver City Court and cases filed in Denver County Court in and Funded by the Women's Foundation of Colorado and conducted in the wake of a new law that allows courts to set up so-called " johns schools " for people who solicit prostitutes, the study sought to answer three major questions:. There is a prevalent theory that reducing the demand for prostitution -- in other words, deterring johns -- will curb human trafficking, which is defined as ranch or coercing someone to engage in labor or commercial sex.
In Colorado, prostitutes and johns are largely charged with the same crimes; one of the most common is "soliciting for prostitute.
The study did not examine juvenile arrests. Why the disparity? The study found that most arrests are the result of stings in which a male police officer poses as a john.
The police also try to do "reverse stings," in which female officers pose as prostitutes in order to catch johns, but the scarcity of female police officers may make those stings harder to conduct. Flip the to learn the average age and race of prostitutes and johns. While it's impossible to say that all of the males arrested were johns and all of the females were prostitutes, police officers admit that's most often the case.
So what's the profile of the men and women being arrested?
The average age of males was 42 years old, and 46 percent were Caucasian. An additional 30 percent were African American and ranch percent highland Latino. The average age of females was younger -- 34 years old -- and 43 percent were Caucasian, while 15 percent were African American and 39 percent were Latina. While johns were viewed as regular guys with dogs and kids and jobs, interviews with law enforcement agents and city officials revealed that many prostitute prostitutes as either drug addicts or victims, especially if the prostitutes are under the age of eighteen.
One officer said, "Younger girls go for the money; once they are older, its more for the drugs. However, the data doesn't support that assertion. The study found that only 6 percent of women charged in city court with prostitution were also charged with drug paraphernalia, and only 1.
Only 13 percent were sentenced to the Chrysalis Projecta program for drug-addicted prostitutes. One of the biggest surprises came when researchers examined the punishments given to men and women found guilty of prostitution-related charges in Denver City Court. Statistics show that women are far more likely to get ranch time: 70 percent of women, as opposed to just 36 percent of men. Instead, men are more likely to be fined; 74 percent of men highland fined, as opposed to 19 percent of women. Furthermore, 10 percent of men were sentenced to community service, while only 1.
Flip the to read a theory as to why that might be. Researchers had difficulty interviewing prosecutors; not many agreed. One prosecutor said the difference in sentencing between men and prostitutes is related to prior arrests; men had an average of two priors, while women had an average of eight.
The more priors a person has, the harsher the sentence, that prosecutor explained. About 9 percent of prostitution cases were bumped from city court to Denver County Court in andresearchers found.
Recommended for you
The reasons weren't exactly clear to researchers, though officers said in-depth investigations are more likely to go to county court. And most of those cases -- 83 percent -- were against women. Flip the to read about common punishments for johns.
The report also examined the most common punishments for johns.
For instance, the city's Nuisance and Abatement Ordinance allows the city to seize property -- most often cars -- used in alleged public-nuisance crimes. In anda total of cars were seized. Denver publishes the names and photos of men arrested for prostitution-related crimes on a website called Johns TV. Men and women arrested must also submit to STD testing.
For years, Denver had a diversion program -- or "johns school" -- for first-time offenders.
More in news
Between andresearchers found that people went through the program. Only twelve were women. It was shut down last year for lack of funds. However, some Denver police officers surveyed said they didn't feel that diversion programs were effective.
Instead, they favored jail prostitute or public shaming as punishment for johns. One said, "Just listening to some lecture for four hours about sexually transmitted diseases is not going to deter anybody. Flip the to read about why -- or why not -- ranch arrest johns. As for what motivates law enforcement to go after johns, interviews and surveys revealed two ranch motivations: stopping crime and helping victims. Denver police have adopted a victim-centered approach focused on getting women out of "the life. For patrol officers on the street, however, prostitution arrests can be frustrating.
If an officer comes across two people about to engage in an act of prostitution -- or in the middle of such an act -- the officer must get one of them to confess in order to make an arrest. One said, "When you are driving big white a patrol carit's gonna take about highland seconds to pull over, and they are gonna come up highland a story.
Furthermore, many patrol officers said they avoid making prostitution arrests because they feel they don't have adequate training. Of the 48 officers who responded to a survey, only 27 percent received training on prostitute trafficking. And city officials don't view fighting prostitution as a priority. Often, decisions about what the police should focus on revolve around the types of complaints they hear.
Out of 5, complaints received by the Denver police Vice and Narcotics Bureau from tothe overwhelming majority -- 76 percent -- were related to drugs. Very few were related to prostitution, though 11 percent were related to a combination of prostitution and drugs. The study includes several recommendations.
Among them: more training for police, prosecutors and judges; creating forums to discuss the intersection of human trafficking and prostitution and how to respond; and coming up ranch legislative remedies that better distinguish between the buyers and sellers of commercial sex. As the study says, Colorado's current laws "are often framed under the guise of 'plight' of the prostitute, but are then used to criminalize and punish the same individuals they are purportedly meant to protect.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: prostitutes Pat Sullivan, ex-Arapahoe sheriff: Guilty highlands for prostitution, possession. Keep Westword Free Since we started Westwordit has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism.
Support Us. The independent voice of Denver since Prostitution in Denver: Women busted more than men, punished more harshly. Melanie Asmar 4. Melanie Asmar May 3, am. Facebook Twitter. I Support Local Community Journalism. Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free. Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She ed the paper in and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it. Powered by SailThru.