SWOP Bay has endorsed the call from USPros on SB1110. We are attaching a model letter that people can send to Senator Hancock which is enclosed. Her contact info is Senator.Hancock@senate.ca.gov, or call the Senator at (916) 651-4009 or (510) 286-1333.
USPros will be sending out an updated Action Alert soon for people to lobby the Assembly Public Safety committee to remove the prostitution aspects of the bill. This is a key committee to target so great if people can call and email them too when the bill gets there. We will post when that happens.
Dear Senator Hancock,
I write concerning SB 1110, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, and in support of withdrawing the clauses that relate to sex workers in the bill.
[Please say something here about your situation/experience and why you have an interest in this issue.]
I object to sex workers being included in a bill about law enforcement diversion firstly because it was drafted without input from sex workers. SB 1110 treats sex work not as a job, but as a disease, and sex workers not as workers but as offenders in need of treatment and rehabilitation.
The sex worker clauses in SB 1110 go against the international sex worker movement for decriminalization which is endorsed by prominent organizations like: Amnesty International, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNDP, WHO, Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, Human Rights Watch, the Lancet and Open Society Foundation.
Sex workers in other cities where LEAD and similar programs have been introduced have reported terrible problems. For example, in Seattle (which is used as an example of good practice for SB 1110) hundreds of people were swept off the street and into LEAD by a four month police and FBI undercover operation to clean-up downtown.
The LEAD program in SB 1110 is law enforcement led. It gives the police the power to decide who gets arrested or not and who goes into the program, and puts women’s access to services in police hands. If sex workers refuse LEAD will they be charged? If they accept LEAD, will charges stay open in their file if they don’t meet all the conditions the program dictates, want out or are kicked out?
The Black Lives Matter movement has brought to the attention of the nation and the world law enforcement’s institutionalized racism and the cozy relationship between law enforcement and DA offices. The Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders in LA, who have been at the forefront of fighting for justice for the scores of Black women serial murder victims and their families have protested against the racist negligence by law enforcement that allowed the murders to go on for decades. Law enforcement referred to the murders of prostitutes and drug addicts as NHI (No Humans Involved). Why would sex workers, especially women of color, trans and immigrants, feel safe putting their futures in the hands of the police?
Rising poverty is increasing the numbers of women, particularly mothers, going into sex work. For sex workers who want to get out of prostitution they need money and resources not punitive rehab programs.
I /we urge you to withdraw the clauses that relate to sex workers from SB 1110, in support of a call that was initiated by US PROStitutes Collective joined by BAYSWAN, Black Trans Lives Matter; Coyote, Rhode Island; Empower Foundation, Thailand; English Collective of Prostitutes; Erotic Services Providers Union; Kate Zen, Migrant Sex Workers Project, Canada; and Red Umbrella Project. It has to date been endorsed by: All of Us or None; Legal Services for Prisoners with Children; Margaret Prescod, Founder, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, Women of Color/Global Women’s Strike; Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) Bay Area; SWOP LA; Youth Justice Coalition.
Thank you for your attention to these problematic aspects of SB 1110. I look forward to hearing what actions you take.