Most johns hire sex workers while on the job

Hiring a prostitute in King County can not only get you arrested -- it can also get you fired.

SEATTLE — It has always been illegal to hire a prostitute in King County.  But now there's an even bigger chance hiring a prostitute will also get someone fired.

Most johns, customers who solicit prostitution, are no longer finding sex workers on the streets, but online and while on the job.

According to Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking, an organization that uses the power of business to end human trafficking; 27,000 people solicit sex each day in King County. In the city of Seattle alone, 8,806 men solicited sex online during one 24-hour period, through more than 100 websites. The busiest time for finding sex online was in the middle of the work day around 2 p.m., according to BEST.

King County Executive Dow Constantine told KIRO7 those numbers show "any major employer in this community needs to be concerned that some of those 88-hundred solicitations are coming from their employees."

On Tuesday, King County, Seattle and a number of local companies announced their partnership with BEST to end to the victimization of sex workers, many of them children, by targeting johns.

According to Senior King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Val Richey, johns aren't just finding sex workers while on the job. Nearly three-quarters of the sex workers interviewed for the survey "reported visiting clients on company property," Richey said. "That was incredibly concerning to us from the business perspective that they're actually visiting their customers at work."

BEST and its partners encourage employers to block online sex sites on work computers, educate employees that hiring prostitutes is illegal, and fire workers who don't comply, if necessary.

"No employer wants their employee to be involved in illegal activity while they're on company time," BEST Executive Director Mar Brettmann told KIRO7. "So it makes perfect sense for a company to say, hey, we block child pornography websites. We need to block sex online websites as well."

Richey said, "The message here is that businesses can get together and say this is not consistent with our values. And any employee who is going to use business time to search for sex on the internet is going to face very significant consequences."

For more information on BEST: