John Schools offer a class or a series of classes to be completed by individuals (johns) who are arrested for purchasing sex with an adult (johns who purchase sex from minors are not eligible to complete these programs). There are over 50 communities with John Schools in the US. The format, requirements and cost of each school vary significantly. In some states, the completion of John School can result in the dismissal of charges on your criminal record, while in other states participants can be required to attend as a condition of sentencing. The classes often contain information on trafficking, STDs, the risk involved in purchasing sex and testimony from survivors of human trafficking. John Schools target several key beliefs that cause or allow men to solicit sex, including:
- The belief that the risk of arrest and legal sanction are low.
- Denial or lack of knowledge of the risk of contracting STDs or HIV through purchased sex.
- Ignorance of the risk of being robbed or assaulted by prostitutes or pimps.
- Denial or lack of knowledge or understanding of the negative impact prostitution has on the neighborhoods in which it occurs.
- Lack of knowledge or understanding of the links between street prostitution and larger, organized systems of sex trafficking.
- Denial or lack of awareness of what motivates them to solicit prostituted women or girls (e.g., addictions, compulsions, unmet social or sexual needs).
- Denial or lack of knowledge or awareness of the negative impact of prostitution on “providers.”
- Denial of the fact that money is the only reason prostituted persons have sex with them
- The mistaken belief that the women they hire care about them, and that they are in some kind of relationship with them.
- Denial or lack of knowledge of the anger, revulsion, or indifference that many prostituted women have while they are having sex with johns.
John Schools are an important aspect of many demand reduction strategies. John Schools face a variety of challenges, including instable or insufficient funding and ability to generate a reliable, substantial volume of program participants. Many John Schools are funded by fees paid by participants, which are used to fund local survivor organizations, law enforcement (to conduct stings) and district attorney offices.