Update: SAN FRANCISCO—The ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation won an initial court victory yesterday when a federal judge agreed to temporarily halt enforcement of a part of Proposition 35, the so-called human trafficking state initiative that was passed by voters Tuesday.
“Voting for Proposition 35 undermines the basic civil liberties of the very victims the proponents say they care so much about. I highly doubt the voters understood that fact or how their votes will work toward the detriment of victims rights instead of protecting victims of trafficking.” Maxine Doogan
Tuesday’s vote was deeply disappointing to all who believe in basic civil and human rights for trafficked victims and sex workers under the law.
All Americans are harmed when any of us are discriminated against. By conflating sex workers’ families and communities with traffickers and mandating that adult consensual sexual behavior be punished with mandatory registration on the sex offender registry, fundamental human rights are criminalized.
The unintended consequences and cost to California under Proposition 35 have only started become realized. The American Civil Liberties Union’s Northern California and Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed in federal court and received a temporary restraining order against the provisions that mandated those on the sex offender registry immediately provide to the police a list of internet identifiers on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, we remain committed to ending discrimination and ensuring equal protection under the law and restore human, civil and labor rights to victims of human trafficking and sex workers alike. All workers deserve to be treated fairly regardless of whether their labor is criminalized or includes circumstances of exploitation.
Prop 35 debates didn’t garner much public discourse outside the usual media political forums, which left voters to rely upon the appeal of the measure’s title resulting in a rubber stamping of the bait and switch ballot measure.
It is of course its disheartening to see so much ill will and indifference towards victims of trafficking, sex i workers, our families and larger communities. We’d like to thank those erotic service providers and supporters who stood up and risked so much to speak out without the benefit of equal protection under the law .
It was the first time in modern history that a prostitute led a statewide ballot measure. Completely unfunded, the Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education and Research Project is proud to have called into question the means and motives of those who conflate sex workers, their families and larger communities with sex traffickers and registered sex offenders.
The small band of volunteers gave selflessly, standing up for trafficked victims rights which will be lost under Prop 35. Groups like Black Women for Wellness, victims service providers, academics, international and local sex worker rights groups joined together while Democrats and Republicans as well as clergy and educators contributed to the distortions against us by never bothering to hear from the state registered opposition of this measure.
With limited access to free speech in general and political speech specifically, sex worker groups like other marginalized groups face chronic underfunding. Under prop 35, we now expect to have our doors busted down under the guise of rescuing us as victims from our domestic, familial and economic relations. We expect the Asian massage parlors, workers of color and LGBT to be the first targets as they’ve been most maligned in the press and the public sphere.
We know that our lives still matter and our contributions are still valuable. We will continue our effort to end the unconstitutional anti prostitution laws to gain access to equal protection and privacy that everyone else enjoys by building on the support and solidarity generated in this campaign.
Special Thanks to Erotic Service Providers Union, US Prostitutes Collective, Bayswan, SWOPBAY
Maxine Doogan, President ESPLERP
Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project
2261 Market Street # 548
San Francisco, California 94114
Ph: (415) 265-3302
Veronica Monet, Sexologist and Radio Host
206 Sacramento Street Suite 206
Nevada City, CA 95959
Ph: (415) 407-2932