Sex Workers Support SB 233 at Senate Public Safety Committee

SAN FRANCISCO — On Tuesday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m. the California Senate Public Safety Committee will hear Senate Bill 233 Sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener and Assembly Member Bill Quirk, co-sponsored by Assembly Members Carrillo and Friedman.

The hearing will happen in Room 3191 of the State Capitol in Sacramento and will feature a range of sex work advocates appearing in support.

State Bill (SB) 233 would protect anyone reporting a serious crime (such as sexual assault, trafficking, robbery, assault) from being charged with prostitution under California Penal Code 647 — and also removes condom possession as probable cause for arrest for prostitution.

“SB 233 helps address the discriminatory enforcement of prostitution laws,” said Rachel West of U.S. PRostitutes Collective. “Black people make up approximately 13 percent of the population, yet over 40 percent of all prostitution arrests. This bill clarifies law enforcement priorities and encourages the police to take crimes against sex workers seriously. When law enforcement is clear about their jobs, predators are held accountable and the safety of all Californians increases.”

“Since condom possession is used to make prostitution arrests, it creates an environment that dis-incentivizes these important health protections,” said Kristen DiAngelo of The Sex Workers Outreach Project, Sacramento. “But with SB233, sex workers can be the front line of prevention of the spread of STIs — with consequent clear benefits for public health.”

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