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70 Year-Old Files Initiative to Stop Criminalization of Prostitution
Tuesday Jan 20th, 2004 11:01 PM
Berkeley Decriminalization Initiative Filed
Thursday, January 15, 70-year-old Lois Rowan filed an initiative on behalf of Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA.
Decriminalization of prostitution will stop sex workers from becoming easy prey for rapists and serial killers. SWOP-USA calls on sex workers who have been assaulted to come forward.

70-year-old Lois Rowan will file an initiative tomorrow on behalf of the Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA. “This is an issue of public safety,” said Rowan, “all workers should have equal protection under the law including those that work in the sex industry. I know that the community will see the wisdom in preventing crimes of this nature. No one wants to deal with the likes of another Jack Bokin or Gary Ridgway.”

The initiative, if passed by Berkeley voters next November, will show local support for statewide prostitution decriminalization. It will also provide unlimited transactional immunity to sex workers who have been assaulted or who have witnessed a crime. “On Tuesday January 13th SWOP-USA facilitated the filing of a deposition by an ex-sex worker against a man who has been raping sex workers for the last three years,” said Robyn Few Executive Director of SWOP-USA. “This woman was afraid to come forward until she was out of the business for fear of being prosecuted as a prostitute. Because of this a rapist has been free to continue his “career” in the Bay Area. Our initiative will make the Bay Area a safer place for all citizens. SWOP is urging all sex workers who have been violated to come forward. We are acting as a liaison. Anyone can come to us without the fear of being arrested and we do all we can to help.”

WHO: Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA
WHAT: Press conference and filing of a ballot initiative to show Berkeley support of statewide prostitution decriminalization and provide immunity to sex workers who testify against their assailants
WHERE: 2180 Milvia Steps of Berkeley City Hall
WHEN: Thursday January 15, 2004 at 12:30 pm
WHY: Decriminalization of sex work will decrease crime and violence against women and sex workers and increase public safety

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