Incarceration. Heavy fines. A criminal record.
The Colorado Springs police department recently introduced public shaming as a tactic to combat rising sex trade crime rates in Colorado. This April, the police department began publicly announcing the names of those convicted of solicitation of a prostitute.
The department published the names and mug shots of six convicts in media news releases and on their Facebook page. As officers explained to reporters from The Gazette, the new policy follows the 2014 formation of the Human Trafficking Investigation Team, which was designed to crack down on pimping, prostitution, and solicitation crimes.
And the Colorado Springs police department is not alone. Across the US, local police departments are announcing arrests and conducting social media campaigns publicizing prostitution crime offenders. In some counties, the faces of solicitation convicts are broadcasted on public access television and plastered across billboards.
The Problems with Public Shaming
Using public shaming as a strategy to combat crimes raises many concerns. Critics argue that public shaming can destroy convicts’ lives and victimize their innocent family members. Imagine, for instance, the effect public shaming would have on the 13-year-old daughter of a man convicted of soliciting a prostitute.
Shaming techniques can be particularly damaging because they publicly humiliate defendants before trials even occur for relatively minor offenses. Defendants accused of prostitution crimes may feel pressured into caving into the demands of police officers if they know their families are in jeopardy and are less likely to be willing to try to negotiate plea deals.
When convicts of prostitution crimes are subjected to public shaming, their crimes are broadcasted on the internet for the rest of their lives. Anyone who performs a simple Google search of their name will be able to access information on their previous indiscretion, making it nearly impossible for them to secure employment, form relationships, and lead normal lives.
Standing Up to Unfair Public Shaming Policies in Colorado
If you have been charged with soliciting a prostitute, pimping, or patronizing a prostitute in Colorado, you are not the only one who is facing life-altering consequences—your family, friends, and loved ones may be as well. However, that doesn’t mean you should give in without a fight. A prostitution-crime charge is not a prostitution-crime conviction, and there are several plausible defenses against this type of criminal charge, including entrapment, mistake, and insufficient evidence. A criminal defense lawyer with a successful track record may be able to help you determine the most powerful defense in your unique situation, and help you employ this strategy in court.
Do not let the threat of public shaming pressure you into laying down and accepting an unfair conviction. Contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney with experience defending prostitution crimes. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story without judgement before explaining your options in an unbiased, upfront manner. Together, you and your attorney can build a strong defense to protect your freedom, finances, and name. With the help of a seasoned prostitution crimes defense attorney, you may be able to avoid incarceration, fines, and the crippling consequences that a public shaming could have on you and your loved ones.