Texas Moves to Combat Human Trafficking with 'John School'

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On May 11, 2011, the Texas House took a step to combat human trafficking and reduce commercial sexual exploitation of children and adults with the passage of  HB 1994, which authorizes”…the creation of first-offender programs at the local level for eligible first-time prostitution and trafficking offenders.”

Also called a “john” school.

The Bill was introduced by Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, who stated, "This is a program aimed at first offenders. This is aimed at educating those arrested on the negative consequences of the sex trade and human trafficking," Weber said. "It is a program which goes after the demand of the sex trade--it's the johns."

Chara McMichael, Chief of Staff for Rep. Weber, explains that he carried HB 4009 last year to create a statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Taskforce consisting of members of law-enforcement departments, prosecutors and service agencies.  Since then, regional taskforces have also been formed.

“Representative Weber introduced HB 1994 because, whether it is the commercial sex industry or human trafficking, we will never cut back supply if we do not reduce demand,”

Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland notes that there are currently forty “john” schools in the United States, “…with low recidivism rates in those communities, including Waco, where only three repeat offenders have been reported since 2002.”

Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, said she was not as familiar with the industry as Weber and asked what exactly he meant by a "john."  Farrar questioned why such a person –the” john” -- should have deferred adjudication for a first-time offense.

"Likewise, I'm not familiar either," Weber said. "The john, and let's face it, in the vast majority, is the man that is soliciting prostitution and we aim to go at the demand."