San Francisco Prostitution Proposition

I just learned in the last few days that there will be a proposition on the San Francisco ballot this November to decriminalize prostitution.

I'm really happy to see this. I'm not an expert on prostitution, partly because I'm not a prostitute. I feel comfortable talking about stripping and criticizing that industry because I'm a part of it. Of course I can't speak for all strippers, but I do at least have some personal experience to draw from.

I do very strongly believe, though, that criminalization of prostitution is awful and stupid. It ties up needless amounts of money in punishing people (mostly women) who are simply trying to make a living. I won't call it a victimless crime because I know that's a controversial statement. Some would say that the prostitutes themselves are victims, and in cases where it's coerced (whether physically, culturally, financially, whatever) prostitution I agree. But that is not always. Some would say the clients are victims, and while I think that's a bit harder to argue, like I said I don't have the personal experience to draw from.

Criminalization also makes it really hard for prostitutes to report crimes committed against them. In a country where a judge will convict a rapist of "theft of services" after he and his buddies gang rape a prostitute at gunpoint, there needs to be a lot more protection for these workers. It's a travesty that we're not doing more to keep them safe. Decriminalization will make it easier for prostitutes to report crimes and hopefully make it harder to commit them in the first place by providing more sex worker support.

I know that I support decrim, but I'm not as sure about legalization. I'm curious what any of you think about that. I've heard a lot of support from the sex workers I know for decrim, but what would be the benefits of legalization, and the drawbacks? Opinions?

In any case, I am a San Francisco voter because I consider the Bay Area my home. So I'm voting yes on Proposition K. If you're a San Francisco voter, I hope you are too.


Myca said...

I think that decriminalization of prostitution is sort of a bare moral necessity, in that ... even if you do not consider it a victimless crime (a victimful crime, maybe?), because the prostitutes themselves are victims, criminalization punishes the victims!

Of course, we run into the same problem with a lot of drug laws, but I digress.

As for legalization, I'm ambivalent ... if there's a prop on the ballot endorsed by someone like C.O.Y.O.T.E., I'll vote for it, but in general I sort of feel like it's my place to listen to the positions of the people affected rather than argue for a position on my own.


On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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