- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 5, 2005

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A controversial ?shaming campaign? aimed at fighting prostitution here will include photos on some billboards of men who have been convicted of soliciting sex.

The billboards will carry the headline: ?How Much Clearer Do We Have To Make It??

At a press conference Wednesday, city officials stood under a 10-by-22-foot billboard with the images of four convicted men intentionally blurred so they could not be recognized.

?We’re warning everyone: Next time, the image won’t be blurred,? City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente said. The billboards will only show images of people convicted of soliciting sex, he said.

City officials say the measure is necessary at a time when prostitution is on the rise, particularly among girls as young as 11.

Operation Shame, which started in February, has been praised by residents and merchants tired of prostitution traffic — and criticized by others as too punitive.

Most suspects arrested for soliciting sex — a misdemeanor — ultimately plead guilty to a lesser infraction of disturbing the peace and serve little if any jail time.

Oakland interim Police Chief Wayne Tucker said officers arrest about 70 ?johns? and prostitutes a week, many from out of the area.

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