Stacey Swimme

Innovative Thinking On The Sex Industry & Social Justice

Prop 35 Does More Harm Than Good

USPros/Global Women’s Strike have written a fact sheet that clearly illustrates the problems with Prop 35, the full text can be found here.

In summary, they state:

Existing anti-trafficking measures are primarily being used to increase police powers to criminalize sex workers and target immigrant sex workers, in particular women of color, for arrest and deportation.

Existing laws against rape, kidnapping, sexual assault, false imprisonment, extortion . . . could be used to prosecute the real exploiters of women and children. But traffickers and violent men escape prosecution because protecting women and children is not the priority — 94% of rapists don’t see a day in jail and only 50% of reported rapes end in arrest .(1)

Any increase in prostitution among young people has primarily been as a result of the economic crisis and cuts in welfare. The Act says nothing about this or about the continuing criminalization of under 18 year olds for prostitution offences and the fact that criminal records prevent sex workers leaving prostitution.

We urge you to vote no because Proposition 35:


  • Will not help victims of trafficking including those under 18.
  • Will cut victims off from potential support by criminalizing anyone that associates with a young person in prostitution regardless of whether there was any force or coercion involved.
  • Uses phony and sensationalist statistics to exploit the public’s understandable concern about trafficking.
  • Expands the definition of trafficking to include any sex with a minor “because minors are legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity.”
  • Increases police powers to detain and interrogate people under the pretext of looking for trafficked victims including “a minor who has engaged in a commercial sex act”, a “person suspected of prostitution” or “a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault”.
  • Deters young people from coming forward to report exploitation, rape, trafficking and other violence.
  • Takes no account of the economic crisis and cuts in welfare, housing and other resources which is forcing increasing numbers of young people, particularly young mothers, into the sex industry to survive.
  • Encourages corruption. 30% of the funds collected from draconian new fines “shall be granted to law enforcement and prosecution agencies”


  • Gives non-profits a vested interest: 70% of funds collected from fines will go to “public agencies and non-profits”
  • Is an unnecessary expansion of pimping and pandering laws


  • Makes unwarranted changes to the Sex offender law


  • Attacks the internet

Additionally, they provide some useful references:

1. “Robbed, Raped and Jailed: Are Police Departments Underestimating Rape Cases?“ Senate Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Uninvestigated Rape Cases. ABC World News, September 14, 2010.

2. Chang, Grace and Kim, Kathleen, Reconceptualizing Approaches to Human Trafficking: New Directions and Perspectives from the Field(s). ibid

3. “Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence” by Jerry Markon, Washington Post, September 23, 2007

4. 80% of street workers and 46% of indoor workers experienced violence or threats in the course of their work. “Revolving Door”, Urban Justice Network


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