DA cracking down on prostitution, especially those who purchase - WSMV News 4

DA cracking down on prostitution, especially those who purchase

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The District Attorney’s Office has a strong message, as human trafficking reaches an epidemic level in Middle Tennessee.

Those purchasing sex will pay the price.

Prostitution has been happening for centuries. It may seem like there is a choice, but experts say in many cases there is not.

They want to teach "Johns" a lesson, without locking them up.

Nashville’s Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade is trying to turn the tide on the sex trade stigma.

“It’s OK for a man to buy a woman like she is something off the Walmart shelf, but it is bad that she is providing the service? We have to tell them that's not OK,” Meade said.

Meade does tell them, when she faces them at John School. She, along with sex trafficking survivors teach the class, sharing real-life experiences.

“She could be controlled by a pimp. She could have been sold since she was a child,” Meade said.

Once a “John” completes the course, the charges are dropped.

The money for enrollment goes directly to Thistle Farms, a program that supplies housing and employment for those survivors.

“I have men come to me after my presentation and say, ‘I am sorry. I didn't know,’” Meade said.

Due to an error in police database reporting, News 4 said last week that no “Johns” had been arrested in 2016 in Davidson County.

Metro police shared new numbers Monday night. They say they actually arrested more “Johns” than prostitutes.

They say 295 were arrested for buying sex, 280 were arrested for selling their bodies for sex, and 26 were arrested for promoting prostitution.

“If we can stop the Johns from buying, we can get in and serve the women who know no different,” Meade said.

Meade's message is clear. She said buying a woman will not be tolerated in Davidson County.

“I don't know if we will ever end it, but we will sure put a dent in it,” she said.

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