COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is offering $10,000 grants to organizations willing to create or improve “client schools” to teach convicted sex buyers why prostitution is so harmful and work to help them stop such behavior.
Yost, a Republican from Columbus, also released a set of guidelines for community groups and the courts to follow when implementing a “school of jeans” program, according to a statement on Thursday.
Currently, there are “customer schools” in Franklin, Hamilton, Summit and Montgomery counties, according to Yost spokesman Steve Irwin. Irwin said he is not aware of any such program currently offered in Cuyahoga County.
Some “client schools” charge a fee for people in the program – many of which are there as part of a year-old state law requiring those convicted of prostitution to take a course in sex work. education of sex buyers.
Yost’s office intends to award 10 grants of $10,000 to applicants who want to either start a new “school of jeans” or expand an existing program, according to the release. Only applicants from counties with a population of at least 100,000 are eligible, and only one program per county will receive funds. Grant applications are due before March 31; potential applicants can send any questions they have to [email protected]
“Applicants are encouraged to be creative and collaborative in their proposals, working with organizations to develop programs that will create a paradigm shift in the fight against human trafficking,” the statement read.
the AG Guidelines for “John Schools” recommend that at a minimum, they explain to participants what commercial sexual exploitation is, the judicial and legal consequences of buying sexual services, why people buy sexual services, the consequences of buying sexual services and why offenders should create a support network.
The guidelines, written by staff of the AG’s Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative, provide details on how to start a “school for clients”, outline laws regarding the purchase of sex, debunk some myths about sex workers and human trafficking, and explain how people who buy sex (who tend to be men) can face penalties such as fines and legal fees, l forced to register as a sex offender and have their driver’s license suspended.
The guidelines also examine how the demand for the purchase of sexual services is linked to societal constructs such as objectification and gender stereotypes, pornography and sexual violence, among others. LGBTQ+ people and minorities are disproportionately affected by sexual objectification and sexual exploitation, and cases of sex trafficking are underreported in these communities, according to the guidelines.
“When a client is required to participate in a sex buyer education program, they see how their actions have directly fueled human trafficking,” Yost said in a statement. “This grant, along with our recently released guide on how to establish a school for clients, gives communities the direction to take and the funds to make it happen.”