I was currently unaware of this until after the election. Nonetheless, I think it's an important women's issue so I'm going to blog about it.
Prop K was put on your November 2008 San Francisco ballot by groups that claim to be in favor of protecting sex workers; in reality this legislation would harm women, children, and the San Francisco community.
The measure directs San Francisco Police Department and the District Attorney’s office to refuse to enforce the State of California’s prostitution laws. These sections include the laws used to investigate and prosecute traffickers and those involved in exploiting children. Non-enforcement of these laws would put many people at risk.
This legislation shifts attention away from those who profit from sexually exploiting women, children, men and transgenders in the sex industry. If it were enacted it would empower pimps and johns and offer no new protection for prostitutes.
Research shows that folks that are marginalized because of their poverty or ethnicity are most vulnerable to prostitution and trafficking. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years.
This initiative prohibits the City and County of San Francisco from applying for and receiving State and Federal grants to fight Human Trafficking. In fact many victims of trafficking to San Francisco are from Asia and Latin America. In order to reach out to these victims, services must be offered in their languages. Ending enforcement of California’s prostitution laws is to tell people who are exploited in the sex industry and prostitution that their safety is not our priority.
Sexual abuse, assault, and rape of people who work in the sex industry is normalized in prostitution. Researchers, service agencies, homeless shelters, and battered women’s shelters all tell us that more than 90% of those in prostitution want to escape it.
Legalization in places like Amsterdam has been shown to increase, not decrease, this form of human trafficking. While girls may have made higher pay and get screened for STD’s if Prop K were passed, the number of girls coerced into prostitution and trafficked to San Francisco would have increased many times over. In Amsterdam's 250 officially listen brothels, 80 percent of the prostitutes have been trafficked in from other countries and 70 percent possess no legal papers. Instead of being protected by the regulations governing brothels, prostituted women are frequently beaten up and raped by pimps.
The Proposition failed by a vote of 121,815 to 89,833.