From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: California | Government & Elections
Sex Worker Groups Challenge Billionaire Proponent of Prop 35 to Debate
by Rachel West (againstthecaseact [at]
Sunday Oct 28th, 2012 2:23 PM
Bay Area sex worker groups are holding a public forum on Proposition 35 and have invited Chris Kelly, proponent and billionaire funder of the Proposition to debate with them on the steps of San Francisco City Hall on Monday, October 29, 12 at Noon.
Bay Area sex worker groups are holding a public forum on Proposition 35 and have invited Chris Kelly, proponent and billionaire funder of the Proposition to debate with them.

Opposition to Prop 35, also known as the CASE Act (Californians against Sexual Exploitation) which California voters will be voting on in the November 6 election, is growing among politicians, LGBTQ community, sex worker rights groups, anti-trafficking organizations, ex-police involved in anti-trafficking enforcement, faith coalitions and community members, Black/African-American advocates and organizations, women's rights advocates organizations, statewide anti-prison groups, media outlets, and others.

Prop 35 claims to be about protecting young people from trafficking but organizers of the event say the opposite is true. They want to hear from Chris Kelly about concerns that victims of trafficking will not be helped by this initiative and that sex workers will be put at greater risk of violence.

Rachel West of the US PROStitutes Collective says: "The massive increase in law enforcement as a result of this measure will lead to increased arrests, raids and prosecutions of sex workers. Prostitution will be forced more underground and sex workers, the majority of whom are not being forced or coerced to work, will be deterred from reporting rape and other violence for fear of arrest. There is also a danger that the measure could result in the racist targeting of immigrant sex workers by law enforcement, resulting in more deportations."

Maxine Doogan, of the Erotic Service Providers Union adds "Prop 35 relies on failed policies that use criminalization as a means to arrest the under-aged all the while calling it rescue; it will open the door to corrupt practices we've seen before in drug enforcement."

Nell Myhand of Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike: "Prop 35 gives the police even more leeway to criminalize young Black women. As welfare is cut more single mothers are forced into prostitution. If Prop 35 passes many more mothers will be visiting their children through four inches of plexiglass in prisons. Our children have a right to be valued, cherished, nurtured and respected not imprisoned and labeled sex offenders for life."

Carol Leigh of BAYSWAN says "The broadened definitions of coercion, combined with new penalties, renders new dangers for sex workers and young people who engage in the sex trade particularly in the context of plea bargaining and other pressures to plead guilty to lesser crimes to avoid the huge prison sentences mandated by the CASE Act."

Other criticisms of Prop 35 are that there is no provision for direct resources for victims of trafficking, other laws already on the books could be used to more effectively target child traffickers, and that the cost will be too high.

Prop 35 pretends to be about protecting young people from trafficking but instead it:

* Criminalizes as a trafficker anyone who assists young people in prostitution -- a young person under 21 working with a friend could face prosecution as a trafficker and sex offender status for life, for giving her/him something "of value".

* Does nothing to help genuine victims - no housing, welfare, or other resources are provided to help victims recover and rebuild their lives. Existing laws on rape, kidnapping and exploitation could be used against violent offenders if there was the will to do so.

* Increases law enforcement, which will result in more raids, prosecutions and imprisonment of sex workers. Pushing prostitution underground leaves sex workers more vulnerable to rape and abuse. Victims of violence will be deterred from reporting for fear of arrest, and for those of us who are immigrant, for fear of deportation.

* Exaggerates the extent of child sex trafficking by using phony statistics; mystifies the rape and abduction of children by calling it "commercial sexual exploitation" and "trafficking".

* Downgrades the most common forms of trafficking --domestic work, sweat shops, agriculture, restaurants -- by creating lower penalties for these labor victims.

* Encourages corruption: police and NGOs will get the money collected in fines, giving them a vested interest in more and more arrests. Victims get no direct funds.

* Allows a massive law enforcement intrusion and invasion of privacy of the internet.

* Promotes a moral crusade by misleading the public and mixing up prostitution, which is consenting sex, with trafficking, which is force, coercion and fraud. A similar crusade against Craigslist deprived sex workers of a way to advertise and work independently.

The event is co-sponsored by: the US PROStitutes Collective; Erotic Service Providers Union; BAYSWAN (Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network); SWOP/Bay Area (Sex Workers Outreach Project).

Endorsers to date: Women of Color in the Global Women's Strike; Pier 5 Law Offices; Queer Strike; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Legal Action for Women. For further information call 415-626-4114 or email:againstthecaseact[at] or visit these websites:

Vote NO on Prop 35!

by No on 35
Sunday Oct 28th, 2012 5:16 PM
As soon as I heard that this proposition promoted 15 years to life, I knew I had to vote no. Any prison sentence that is more than 5 years and does not provide for rehabilitation including education and job training for decent paying jobs is just another prison promotional scheme.

BWW Analysis: Black Women for Wellness fully understands the devastating impact that human trafficking has on our families and our communities. However proposition 35 is not the answer. This measure seeks to increase sentences for human traffickers and sex offenders, however because of the broad definitions of this law, many young black and brown women and men are at risk for unnecessarily being targeted. How? Because of the loose definitions of trafficking, under this proposition, an 18 year old who take his/her partner out for dinner and a movie and then engages in sex could be seen as a trafficker. In addition, it could punish anyone who associates with minor sex workers, even if their only intent was to buy him/her food or give he/she a ride to the store. Yes the odds of this seem rare, but knowing many communities of color relationships with law enforcement, it’s not much of a reach to imagine a California in which this happen if prop 35 passes. Furthermore, this law punishes all people prosecuted as sex offenders to have their internet usage monitored for life. Yes this even includes the 18 year old we mentioned above. Black Women for Wellness wants to address trafficking, however not at the expensive of young people of color.Vote No ON Prop 35 Black Women for Wellness

“The state law is good enough,” Lee said. “Proposition 35 looks good on the surface, but anyone supporting this proposition does not understand and does not work with children of sex trafficking.”An organization that works with victims of child prostitution also opposes the measure, saying it will be ineffective. Dr. Lois Lee, founder of Children of the Night, a Van Nuys-based organization that helps child prostitutes. Redland Daily Oct 13, 2012

From the Bay Area Freedom Socialist Party newsletter:
Proposition 35: Increases the Penalties for Human Trafficking-Vote NO
As socialist feminists, we abhor human trafficking of laborers and sex workers. However, this initiative statute poses a threat to civil liberties, has an overly-broad net that could impact any sex worker–trafficked or not–and duplicates current laws while doing little for victims.

San Francisco Tenants Union

San Jose Peace and Justice Center

Bay View Voters Guide

“Well-intentioned or not, adopting new criminal laws and sentencing guidelines through initiative is the wrong way to go. Vote no on Proposition 35″Editorial Prop 35 Dubious-Propositions Santa Cruz Sentinel Editorial Board October 10, 2012

“Voters should not be lulled into believing that by approving this measure they will be taking effective action against slavery and sexual exploitation. Even if well intentioned, this initiative falls well short of the mark. The Times urges a no vote.” No on Proposition 35 Los Angeles Times October 10, 2012

“State’s laws against sex trafficking could be strengthened, but this proposition is not the way to do it. We urge a no vote with an eye toward the future, when stricter enforcement can be worked out through a legislative process that will allow full vetting of the proposed remedy.” Prop. 35 has right idea, wrong approach SF Examiner October 9,2012

Editorial: Don’t do Legislature’s job; vote no on Prop. 35 10/09/2012

Proposition 35 a good idea, but too flawed Merced Sun Star October 8, 2012

“Sex trafficking is a repugnant crime that needs to be prevented and punished. State lawmakers have a responsibility to beef up the laws against it and keep them current. We recommend a “no” vote on Proposition 35 while standing firmly against any form of human trafficking.”Initiative not best approach to human trafficking Modesto Bee October 7, 2012

“Human trafficking is an egregious and horrible act. California law, as well as federal law, prohibits it, and the penalties are appropriately harsh.
But Prop. 35 — like so much else on the state ballot, the spawn of one rich person with a cause — wouldn’t just crack down on the worst people in the sex industry. It would expand the ability of state and local authorities to harass and arrest consensual sex workers and would lead to more people serving more time in prison for victimless crimes”.San Francisco Bay Guardian No on Proposition 35 10.3.2012

“It’s difficult to oppose Proposition 35, a measure that purports to stop a crime as despicable as human trafficking. But the proposition is overbroad and misdirected”.Sacramento Bee-Endorsements: ‘No’ on flawed, well-intended Proposition 35Monday, Sep. 24, 2012

Fresno Bee: Although well-intended, Prop. 35 is flawed Oct 1, 2012

“Perla Flores, a program manager at Community Solutions, said the measure’s training requirements are negligible and the hefty fines could provoke convicted traffickers into seeking revenge on victims or their families. Also, there is nothing in the measure, she said, to encourage nonprofits, police, city services and victims to work together.” Victims advocates oppose Proposition 35 human trafficking measure Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach & Community Solutions September 21, 2012

“CA has a good record, not a failing one, in enforcement of all manner of human slavery prosecutions. This proposition will undermine much of that work “ Prop 35 Recommendation: OPPOSE California Council of Churches-August 29, 2012

San Francisco Rising

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Bernal Heights Democratic Club

Bar Area Reporter

California Association for Criminal Justice

Peace and Freedom Party
More information may be found at
The donor information for Prop 35 is at: