So, I know that I already had a blog post about this, but honestly, this issue is too important to me and people I care about to let it sit. If you haven’t read it already, please take a look.
There’s even more to the story. People need to know that the proposition with the “feel good” name isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
From this post:
Another HUGE problem with Prop 35 is that it mandates that anyone convicted of lewd conduct since 1944 register as a sex offender. Lewd conduct is what the police like to charge women and men working on the street with when entrapping them for solicitation seems like too much of a hassle. So thousands of people who are not traffickers and were never accused of being traffickers are going to have to register as sex offenders. And here’s another kicker – throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when it was practically illegal to be queer, the police had a tendency to charge gay men with lewd conduct. So now thousands of gay men will be required to register as sex offenders – because they’re gay. Yes, there are people being exploited, sexually and otherwise, and they should be getting help. But Prop 35 is not the way to do it. Maybe the police should start enforcing the laws we already have against rape, statutory rape, assault, and kidnapping.
This bill has over $1.85M backing it, and the people who oppose it have no budget to buy commercial time on the radio, or TV, or for big splashy advertisements in local papers. Please. Please share this information.
Proposition 35, also known as the Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery sounds like the kind of bill that no one can argue with, right? I mean, no sane person actually thinks that human trafficking or (non-consensual) sex slavery is a good thing, right? Right. That’s why these things are ALREADY illegal.
So why has Prop 35 been introduced? There is more to the bill than what meets the eye in the small blurb in your voter guide. This bill would broaden the definitions of human trafficking and sex slavery to a point where the terms could include people who have chosen to be prostitutes, as well as their customers, and people who have chosen to be adult entertainers (working in porn or as strippers). These people (men and women) who have chosen to engage in sex work could be prosecuted as “human traffickers” and sentenced to a decade in jail, with a $500,000 fine. If the police chose to do so, you could be charged with human trafficking merely by having sex with a date that paid for a meal. There’s nothing okay about that.
Here’s an excerpt from The Myth of Sex Trafficking, regarding Prop 35,
Here’s a riddle:
Q: Under §6(h)(2) of the CASE Act, what makes a sexual act into a “commercial sex act”?
A: That it occurs on account of anything of value being given or received by any person.
Here’s another riddle:
Q: Gee, does “anything of value” include buying someone dinner? A ticket to a movie? A drink?
A: “Anything of value” is not defined — but if it meant “money or its equivalent” it would say so.
Here’s a final riddle:
Q: Do you really think that prosecutors will think that they can get a jury to convict for a 19-year-old boy who takes a 17-year-old girl (or boy) to a concert, leading her to be grateful and to engage in a sexual act with him, under the CASE Act?
A: Maybe not. But if it’s your son facing 12 years in prison and being branded for life as a registered sex offender as a result of the conviction, would you be more likely to tell him to accept a plea bargain just in case? And don’t prosecutors like plea bargains to pad their conviction statistics? And have they ever been known to deploy their prosecutorial discretion somewhat selectively?
(By the way, that could be your daughter in the above example rather than your son.)
I highly recommend that all of my California readers go to the websites that discuss the pros and cons of Prop 35 (especially the blog linked above, for the cons) and educate yourself. While the proposition title sounds like a great idea, in reality, it will only increase the number of frivolous arrests and prosecutions of legitimate sex workers, and will increase the already overloaded court system.
I will be voting “no” on Prop 35. Instead of going after women and men who work in the sex industry by choice, why not help the women and men who have asked for the court’s assistance? I’d much rather see that energy, manpower, and judicial resources going towards processing the over 180,000 rape kits that are languishing in California.