Dear ‘john’

It’s time to break up with ‘john’– we’re moving on and he should too.

Sexual exploitation has a serious impact on the quality of life for all Edmontonians.

  • 25-35 is the average age of ‘john school’ attendees
  • 64% of ‘johns’ have children
  • 15 years-old is the average age of entry into sexual exploitation
  • An average of 100 solicitation arrests per year in the last 5 years

The Alberta Avenue community in Edmonton is stepping up; taking a unique approach to a common community concern.

On April 25, a ‘Dear ‘john’ campaign will be launched to discourage sexual exploitation, raise awareness, and encourage participation in the promotion of community safety.

The campaign is built on a break-up letter to “john” from the 118 avenue community.

Click to view image

The letter let’s ‘john’ know the relationship is over – we’re moving on and he should too. We want ‘john’ to know that this community is an active one – intolerant of their safety being compromised.

Signs featuring Dear ‘john’ messages will be placed along 118 Avenue to act as mobile deterrents, and will routinely change locations so as to capitalize on their visual impact.

Write your own message to ‘john’ in the comment section (below) and Tweet him using the hashtag #Dearjohn.

Alberta Avenue is moving on and not looking back, and encourages other communities to do the same.

Commonly asked questions about Street Prostitution (PDF)


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About the Author
Kris Andreychuk
Kris Andreychuk is a social worker with the City of Edmonton and a supervisor with the Neighbourhood Empowerment Team. These teams have played an integral role in community policing and crime prevention in Edmonton for the past 8 years and are the result of a four way partnership with the City, EPS, The Family Centre and the United Way.
  1. Mari
    8 years ago

    Dear john,

    The condoms you throw in the alley/on the lawn: seriously, that’s disgusting. At least throw them in the trash. Exploitation combined with bad hygiene is the worst combination.

  2. David Jones
    8 years ago

    Dear john: For too long our society has bought the myth of “the oldest profession” and have not treated it as what it really is: violence against women. Shame on you!

  3. Tricia Boonstra
    8 years ago

    Dear John
    Every time you solicit you are harming someones friend, sister, daughter or mother. How would you feel if it was your relative?

  4. Brett Johnston
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    Hire an indoor professional and use protection. Don’t attend sketchy places, pay up, and no minors.


  5. Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Dear John – because of you, we found a beat up girl with 3 loonies to her name this morning. What kind of man acts this way?

  6. Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Dear John – Would you treat your own daughters the way you treat ours?

  7. Katherine Andreychuk
    8 years ago

    Dear ‘john’,
    I don’t believe you when you say ‘I am helping her find her friend’ while you sit in a car in front of my house. It is time to move on.

  8. Kimberly Ferland
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    The woman that you are purchasing is worth so much more than you could ever afford. Every time you pay for sex you devalue her, yourself and your relationships. She is worth more than that and so are you.

  9. Alec Stratford
    8 years ago

    Dear ‘john’ did you know that Over 75 per cent of people working in the sex trade in Canada began working as a child. That’s right children, that could be your daughter!

  10. Judy Allan
    8 years ago

    Dear John
    I’m sure you have noticed all great changes on 118th. The Ave is all about arts, dinning and family. You might think we don’t notice you when you are here, but we do and if you keep it up you will be taking the bus after your car is siezed.
    We have moved on, your not welcome here anymore. Instead of moving somewhere else, how about you find something else to do? Spending more time with your wife and kids would be a great start.

  11. Sarah Aube
    8 years ago

    Dear john

  12. Kyle Shelton
    8 years ago

    #dearjohn: Try explaining to your wife when she is bailing you out after she finds out you’ve been trolling teens. Think about this, what if it was your daughter?

  13. andrew
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    Welcome to Dumpsville.

    Population: you.

  14. 8 years ago

    Dear john:
    Your actions cause many ripples of harm and exploitation. You hurt yourself, those you love, children and women in the communities you drive through, and the vulnerable girls and women you pick up. Some of you brutalize the women, thinking that because you paid, you own them and can make them do anything you want. Then, you cast them out, injured and bleeding, often with no safe place to go. You leave your condoms on our city streets for us to clean up. Your actions cost all of us money – policing, courts, health care. Think about the young boys who see you – what kind of role model are you???? You can break the cycle of harm. Just stop! Get help if that is what you need! Be part of transforming our wonderful communities and great City of Edmonton!

  15. Lisa
    8 years ago

    Dear John:
    You really need to find a better way to spend your time. How would you like it if someone treated your daughter or sister the way you treat the girls you pay for sex? I know you know that many of them are children – that’s really sick. You might think that these girls are “bad”, or that “they like what they do” – I know you find all kinds of ways to justify it to yourself. Here’s a news flash for you…the girls you pay for sex are NOT bad and they DON’T like what they do. They do it because they are sick and they need help. I guess you don’t care though…that’s why we have to MAKE you care – by taking your truck or car away, by fining you, by sending you to jail. You won’t like it in jail. You’ll know what it feels like to be vulnerable though…maybe that’s what you need to STOP.

  16. Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Losing your vehicle over this might not bother you, but what will you say to your spouse and your boss?

  17. Helen Rusich
    8 years ago

    Dear John, what can I possibly say to have you stop hurting yourself and my daughter, sister, mom?

  18. Tanya DaEstrela
    8 years ago

    Dear John, my neighbourhood used to be really great with lots of friendly neighbours, tree-lined streets, and it made me feel very safe. Then you started coming around and now that neighbourhood is filled with drug dealers and gang members, drug and alcohol-addicted people wandering the streets, and needles and condoms in the front and back yards and on the streets. Is this the kind of neighbourhood you would like to live in? Is this where you would like to raise your kids?

  19. 8 years ago

    Dear John,

    Last week I stopped your vehicle after you tried to pick up a female officer on the corner… you still denied it happened… now your vehicle is impounded till your last day in court, and you have to bare the shame of attending John School. Next time try going to the gym!

  20. John
    8 years ago

    Dear whoever, Im in total support of your campaign! However, I take offence to the slander of the name John! Im no freak so why do you refer to me being one of them?

  21. Judy
    8 years ago

    Dear John: A real man wouldn’t have to purchase sex from a stranger. A real man would love and respect all woman. When you abuse a woman you lose the right to be called a man.

  22. Kate
    8 years ago

    Dear John – why not just hang a sign around your neck that says Loser? Because that is what we think when we see you out trolling, that is what the sex trade workers think of you, and that is what your family, friends and colleagues will think when you are busted.

  23. Gérard Forget
    8 years ago


    Dear “john”
    The time has come…
    for you to zip up and move on. We have been observing you prowling our neighbourhood for girls day and night. We know who you are and we are on your “tail”. So…
    if you know what’s good for your health (and your body…(parts)
    The time has come…
    for you to vanish from our community.
    We’re not trying to scare you or anything! Just get a life!

    “A community is not always as gentle as the law”

  24. Kris Andreychuk
    8 years ago

    Thank you for your support! We’re glad that you raised this so that we can speak to the important distinction.

    John is a name of many distinguished gentlemen, community leaders, and outstanding citizens. ‘john’ (lowercase ‘j’) on the other hand, is slang for someone who sexually exploits… and toilets, of course!

  25. Heather
    8 years ago

    Dear john,

    I wish we could all see your photo in the newspaper, maybe then you might think twice about what you are doing.

  26. Kayla lar-son
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    Just because I’m walking down 118th doesn’t mean I’m a prostitute, it means I’m walking to the bus so I can go to work so if you could kindly stop honking your horn, driving by slowly and following me asking me how much it would be greatly appreciated it really makes me feel uncomfortable.

  27. Unky Dimmy
    8 years ago

    Dear John,
    We’re through. I’ll email you a picture of your license plate, right after I phone the police.

  28. David Long
    8 years ago

    Dear “john”.
    It’s over, and I am sorry to hear that you have become a callous predator. You may have tried to convince yourself that “it’s no big deal,” and that you are an “average,” normal guy who is simply having anonymous sex with a young girl you don’t know. But if you truly believed that then you would not feel the need to hide what you do, would you? Neither would you feel the need to circle around neighborhoods you don’t live in simply to prey on vulnerable, females that you do not know. If you were an “average” guy you would not take and abuse and devour what you want without regard for others. I’m sorry john, but your so called normal, average life is over.

  29. Karin Nelson
    8 years ago

    Does your mother, wife, girlfriend, daughter, colleague know what you’re doing? How pathetic are you that you need to buy sex? Without “Johns”, yes, creeps like you, women and men would not have to sell themselves!

  30. viacom
    8 years ago

    My lovely daughter went the wrong way in her life. She is 16 years old. Shes my baby and always will be. When you see her remember it could be your daughter and you could be me.

  31. Kim
    8 years ago

    dear john,
    i am a worker with girls who are desperately trying to escape the trap that you continue to lay out for them. did someone hand you a bad card in life? did you get hurt or abused by someone you love? is that what makes you think this is okay?

    they are children. they need help. and you’re not helping…. this relationship is over john. move on, grow up, and stay off of our streets…. maybe find a hobby.

  32. Angela A
    8 years ago

    Dear ‘john” it makes me wonder what compels you to act in this way? Has something happened to you, something vile, something unspeakable and this is your response? Or is this just your choice? Either way, inside yourself you are empty and sick, you have lost everything good – integrity, joy, happiness. If you want these things, if you really want to feel good then I invite you to change, it will work I promise.

  33. Marilyn Hooper
    8 years ago

    Hit the Road John
    And don’t you come back no more no more no more no more
    Hit the Road John
    And don’t you come back no more……..

  34. Karey
    8 years ago

    Dear John:

    How do you look your daughter in the eye.

  35. Amanda
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    I’m sick of you following me from block to block when I’m jogging in my beautiful neighbourhood. I’m tired of being asked “how much for a date” when I’m going to the store for groceries or waiting for the bus. We all see what you are really doing here in the alley and know you’re NOT just giving your friend a ride.

    Alberta Avenue is full of amazing people who want to enjoy their lovely neighbourhood without you creeping around. Do us all a favour and don’t come back.

  36. Joe age 17
    8 years ago

    Dear john I hear that most of you have kids if you were my dad and I found out what you are doing I would wish I was never born you better be ashamed

  37. Tori
    8 years ago

    Dear John,
    Go home and clean up your life man! Using these ladies the way you do doesn’t fill you up, it makes you feel like crap and you know it.
    Make today the day you end the hiding from your control and intimacy problem by making an appointment to talk it out. You can do it!

    Having troubles getting the nerve. Read up on why women fall into prostitution, it will be an epic eye opener for you.

    You see John women rich, poor, black, first nations and whites we are all on the same side…..your abuse hurts us all.

    I’ll sign this:
    Love every woman in your life you had affection and respect for that includes your grandma!

  38. Dani
    8 years ago

    Dear John,

    When I used to sell my body to you, it never failed the transaction would be done within 5 minutes. How does it feel to know that you paid me hundreds of dollars for a job your hand could do? Why did I sell myself? Because for years and years sex was taken from me by perverts and people older than me. Finally I could put a price on something I was giving away for free….. I am not proud of what I did, however, guilt and shame drove me to booze and drugs, I needed to escape the pain of being raped and molested by family members and friends….. I had to finance my habit that I used to escape the dirty feeling of my fathers hands on me….. Dear John, I never liked anyone of you…..and my phoniness of thinking you were “hot” and “big” was just a grooming factor to get more money…… I loathed everyone of you….. today I am clean from selling my body for over 5 years. I am healing from the abuse and I am finding forgiveness for you and men like you. Today I pray for your healing…….

  39. Jaimie
    8 years ago

    Dear ‘john’,

    You are hurt, that much is clear. Why else would you hurt others?

    Be brave, find the courage inside yourself to admit that you have a problem and see it for what it is: violence against women. We are not objects for sale. Choose to take action, get help and put an end to your vicious, violent, abusive cycle. The women you violate do not have your luxury of choice.

    It’s all in your hands.

  40. 8 years ago

    Dear john,

    I would like to remind you of our converstaion last night. Let this be reminder to all ‘johns’ that this community knows who are, what you do and you are no longer able to lurk in the shawdows.

    Cst. Hauptman: Can you read?

    john: Yes.

    Cst. Hauptman: Then why couldn’t you read the signs that are up?

    john: Uh…

    Cst. Hauptman: What’s ur name again?

    john: Peter…

    Cst. Hauptman: No!…your name is ‘john’…that is your name now. That is who you are. Do you like being part of a group of johns?

    John: No…but…

    Cst. Hauptman: so let me get this straight…you know her as Nancy…but that isn’t her name…she’s a friend…but you know nothing about her…and you were giving her a ride….around the a few blocks only to return her to the same corner?

    Clearly you can see that this relationship is over!

    Cst. Hauptman

  41. Christy
    8 years ago

    Hey john
    The escapade is over. We are a strong community that is telling you that you are not welcome. You can take your dirty” secret “with you too We are a community that loves good. We will report your activity and if you don’t leave it’s just a matter of time when all will be exposed to the light. Shadows are only there until light is present … right?! Get some help and get off our streets and alleys. I can’t imagine that you would want your little ones or grandchildren to see you doing it in front of your home…. You are hurting so many people with your lies and actions. GOOD BYE john

  42. Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Dear john – the police were happy that I reported you tonight! Now they have your plate #, the make of your car. I’m glad the cops are coming between us… Your relationship with our neighborhood is drawing to a close! Buh bye!

  43. Rebecca
    8 years ago

    Dear John – I sincerely appreciate that you are using condoms, I really do. I bet your wife appreciates it too. I even appreciate it on behalf of my children – that condom lying on the street is the perfect opportunity for me to teach them about safe sex. But really, I’m also trying to teach them about taking care of our environment. So could you please not dump it out your window on the ground? My kids pick up garbage with their bare hands and that’s just nasty. Take it home, put it in the garbage. Thanks.

  44. Brent
    8 years ago

    Dear John – you should show some dignity towards the young girls you are preying on! Do you feel satisfied once the job is done and you look forward to your next venture? You will eventually be caught and you will reap the rewards of being embarassed. You should start to come up with the story you are going to tell your wife or girlfriend; sorry ex after this is done because who would stay with you. Perhaps you might form a new relationship with your cell mate. By the way – Get rid of the porn on your computer. You should be ashamed of yourself!

  45. Anon
    7 years ago

    Dear john,
    When you venture off the Ave into the residential area… don’t forget that all those homes are filled with people. People that are pretty clever and know when an empty parking lot is being used by you for your disgusting escapade. We call the police too and will continue to do so… to stop creepers like you from preying women & girls that need help. Shame on you.

  46. […] the Dear ‘john’ campaign, the 118th Ave Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (NET) heard countless stories of how sexual […]

  47. 6 years ago

    […] and I are off to Ohio! We’re scheduled to present Dear ‘john’ at the 10th Annual International Human Trafficking, Prostitution, & Sex Work Conference at the […]

  48. Kris Andreychuk
    6 years ago

    The long road to ending exploitation

    A reader has contacted us about their own experience trying to help a woman leave the streets, and some of the challenges and frustrations involved in what is a difficult and sometimes disheartening process. Finding pathways out of sexual exploitation is complex, and there are often many barriers.

    The Dear ‘john’ campaign focused exclusively on ‘johns’, but one of the main partners in this initiative was the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) who supports those who are sexually exploited and trafficked. The challenge in Edmonton is that there are simply not enough treatment and safe house spaces, especially for those who are active in addictions. You can help by adding your voice and advocating for more investment in healing, shorter waiting times for treatment and housing, and access to counselling. The CEASE website has a wealth of information on resources and contacts for anyone who wants to learn more about ending sexual exploitation in their community.

    It’s a complex problem, but together, we can help protect and empower those who are affected.

    Kris Andreychuk

  49. […] in April of 2012 when 118th N.E.T worked with CEASE and We Believe in 118 coalition to launch the Dear ‘john’ campaign. The campaign was able to use the tension that residents and service providers had towards […]


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