Read the full article by Katy Grimes at CaliforniaGlobe.com

 

A bill to prohibit the arrest of a sex worker when they are reporting a crime done to them just passed the Senate. SB 233 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)  would also make evidence of possession of a condom inadmissible to prove a violation of specified crimes related to prostitution.

Sen. Wiener said SB 233 is necessary “for the health and safety of sex workers,” who are victims of violent crime at a disproportionately high rate.”

According to Wiener, “It is critically important that sex workers feel safe reporting crimes and carrying condoms. If sex workers believe that reporting crimes and carrying condoms will get them arrested, they will do neither. In an effort to improve the overall safety of sex workers and to reduce violence and crimes within the sex industry, the San Francisco Police Department released a bulletin stating that they, as a department, will not arrest someone for sex work when they come forward as the victim or witness of sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, robbery, assault, kidnapping, threats, blackmail, extortion, burglary, or other violent crimes.

“The criminalization of prostitution results in sex workers largely not trusting law enforcement due to fear that they will be arrested or mistreated. This is particularly true for people of color, street-based sex workers, and transgender women who face the most harassment and arrests. Data shows that sex workers are a vulnerable population that is more likely to experience violence while working. Sex workers are unlikely to report crimes when they fear that they themselves will be treated as criminals. Treating condoms as evidence of sex work exacerbates this unsafe work environment because it discourages sex workers from practicing safer sex.”

 

 

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?