SB 357 a bill that will legalize street prostitution in California is about to become law.
The bill is now on the Appropriation Committee suspense file with the Suspense File hearing scheduled for August 26th. It will be up to the Chair of this Committee, Lorena Gonzalez, to decide if this bill will be held or get out of this committee.
IF YOU OPPOSE LEGALIZING STREET PROSTITUTION, PLEASE TAKE THESE THREE STEPS IMMEDIATELY!
STEP 1: Stop what you are doing and go online to find your California Assembly Person using your zip code.
STEP 2: Go to their comments section and register your name and opposition to this bill PRIOR TO THURSDAY MORNING AUGUST 26, 2021.
STEP 3: Share this information with everyone you know.
This bill as it is written, will have few restrictions. Street Prostitution will take place in front of business, schools, churches and residences. Law Enforcement will not be able to intervene. This will greatly increase the number of commercial sex providers on the streets of California, making your community less safe and most important, little can be done to keep commercial sex providers safe from exploitation.
In addition to contacting your Assembly person, let’s flood the Appropriations Committee chairperson by Wednesday with emails opposing SB357.
The email address is:
There is a bill making its way through California legislation that will legalize street prostitution in California and even more concerning, allow those previously convicted of prostitution or related offenses to have their sentences overturned or dismissed. Almost no one seems to be aware of SB 357 which has passed the Senate and is in the final stages of a vote in the State Assembly.
The fact that few people are aware of it should get your attention. This bill will change the very fabric of our society and our children’s future.
SB 357, authored by California Senator Wiener, repeals Sections 653.20, 653.22 and 653.23 of the California Penal Code, which had defined loitering in a public place for the purpose of engaging in street prostitution and made it a misdemeanor. In plain language, by repealing these sections, it makes street prostitution legal and law enforcement would not be able to intervene whether the behavior is on a street or in a car. The bill would also authorize those convicted of a violation of loitering with the intent to commit prostitution to petition the court for the dismissal and sealing of their case.
The bottom line here is that it leaves almost no restrictions in defining prostitution. In Nevada, where they legalized prostitution in some counties, there are very strict perimeters. The services are in a specified area, the sex workers get regular testing for disease, and the Health Department has regulations and inspections. None of this is true in Senator Wiener’s bill.
Once this bill passes our communities will be changed forever. Pimps from all over the US (and internationally) will be bringing their sex workers to California because law enforcement will not be able to prevent sex workers from soliciting on the street. Businesses will suddenly find that their regular customers do not want to deal with the sex selling taking place in front of their businesses. Where there is prostitution there are used condoms and drug needles left behind. Children will be exposed to all forms of illicit sex acts. The online sex ads will direct sex buyers to meet on the street where law enforcement cannot touch them. It could be in front of a convenience store, liquor store, school and even your local church.
Another factor is since January 2021 it is reported over 1 million undocumented people have entered our country through the southern border. Many of those people are good people but they (and their family back home) owe money to a coyote for bringing them over the border. In Southern California, we have already seen cases of both Chinese and Hispanic victims being sold for sex by their coyote to pay back their smuggling debt. With legalized street prostitution, we are about to see an overwhelming increase in public sex for sale.
Even more concerning is the wording in SB 357 which allows those already convicted through due process of prostitution related offenses to have their conviction overturned and be released early from incarceration. Many of these individuals have been involved in the control and exploitation of others. Many victims have cooperated with law enforcement or even testified and now their perpetrator will be released right back to their old neighborhoods. What about the people who testified against them or assisted in an investigation?
Already in many cities there have been “tracks or blades” of sex workers (a street or area where they congregate). With substantial funding from the previous administration,law enforcement teams have focused on getting the sex workers services to stop public prostitution.
In 2016 on Fifth Street in San Bernardino, I counted 37 sex workers in one block. Downtown businesses closed as people were afraid to come to that part of town after dark. Since then, law enforcement has worked vigorously to arrest sex buyers and assist victims of trafficking to get out of the life.
The argument for legalizing prostitution in California is not new. In a perfect world, the government should not belong in the bedroom and if informed, consensual adults choose to make money selling their body, it theoretically should be a private matter. Having worked in combating human trafficking and social media exploitation for over 12 years, I can tell you it is not a simple issue.
I have met many young people who fell in love on the Internet or hooked up with a boyfriend that turned out to be a pimp or a gang guy. Sometimes it is a housewife or lonely adult woman who decides to make some money turning tricks. Before long, a guy comes along offering marketing services or a romantic relationship, and it all sounds good. Then the violence and control begins. Suddenly, these women have quotas to make $1,000 a night or they don’t eat, aren’t allowed to sleep, and often beaten, choked, burned, raped and sodomized.
The pimp or gang or cartel keeps the money earned by the sex worker with a few dollars given for food if they make the quota. The sex worker very quickly becomes “enslaved” and feels they cannot get free. One of the greatest tragedies is when a teen gets ensnared, and then they become an adult (at age 18), they are so psychologically traumatized they are too terrified to leave. Some make it out of the “life” and unfortunately some don’t.
Human Trafficking advocates sometimes point out that the sex worker is further victimized by law enforcement when they are arrested (historically it is often a female but can be a male or transgender). It is true that the sex worker now has a criminal record which if they do leave the life can make it infinitely more difficult to get a job and return to normal society. The counter argument is that law enforcement currently already works with sex workers to get them services including legal services to have their record expunged.
Finally, there is a deep concern about the how California leaders are conducting business that over looks the rule of law and due process. Proposition 57 is such an example. Few people understood when they voted for it that it would ultimately lead to up to 76,000 prisoners getting out of prison early with an estimated 20,000 of them being sex offenders. This bill reverses previous sentences and court rulings and often excludes any sentences related to enhanced sentencing.
The same with SB 357. Even though law enforcement followed the guidelines with search warrants and investigations to arrest the criminal, and prosecutors proved to juries the criminal activity, any previous convictions or sentences for prostitutions can be reversed. This includes some of the most violent “bottom girls” who are the exploitive enforcers for the pimps.
I believe that legalizing street prostitution is not the answer to protecting a sex worker. Instead, street sex will bring crime, violence, and a deterioration of our communities. It will drive businesses away. It will set a terrible example for our children. As street sex becomes common place, literally thousands more individuals (mostly women) will be exploited. All in the name of protecting them.
It appears at this writing that SB 357 is pretty much a done deal and almost no one realizes the impact except those of us that have dedicated our lives to combating sexual exploitation. No one is going to win this. The fact that this is hidden in the shadows and supported by some of California’s most prominent citizens including big tech, Hollywood stars and prominent politicians should cause us to pause.
This is a sad day for the future of California unless we take a stand. Let everyone know what is going on by sharing this email. Contact your California assembly representative IMMEDIATELY and let them know that you want them to vote against this bill. T