Support Safety: Oppose Bill SB 1204 that criminalizes sex workers associating with each other or with supporters for safety, information and support.
Video Senate Public Safety Committee
Oppose Bill SB 1204 that criminalizes sex workers associating with each other or with supporters for safety, information and support.
▪ Please urgently write and/or call in to members of the CA Senate Public Safety Committee to oppose Bill SB 1204! (See names & contact info below). Or use this link to a formhttps://sb1204.typeform.com/to/gTErBnthat others have set up. Deadline: April 10th for letters to count in the committee’s recommendation, so time is short.
▪Come speak out against the Bill at the Public Safety Committee hearing April 17th, 8:30 AM in the Capitol, Room 3191 in Sacramento.
▪Be in touch with us about upcoming plans to hold a press conference in Sacramento to protest this bill.
SB 1204 is a dangerous bill which expands the definition of pandering (pandering carries a mandatory 3-6 years in prison) in the California Penal Code (section 266i), making it so broad that sex workers talking among ourselves, sharing safety tips, helping another sex worker with a referral for example, or others campaigning with sex workers for legal, health and other rights, or simply ensuring that a sex worker gets home safe, could be criminalized and imprisoned.
SB 1204 is also a racist attack on the poorest of us: the majority of people going to prison for prostitution-related offenses are people of color. This bill is another attempt to take away our livelihood – women (cis and trans), immigrants, young people and others trying to survive and provide for our families in a climate of devastating cuts, a decimated safety net, a lack of pay equity and living wages.
The new definition of pandering proposed in SB 1204 is:
266i. (a) A person who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute, with the intent that the other person engage in an act of prostitution, is guilty of pandering, a felony, and shall be punished as provided in subdivision (b).
While outrageously defining pandering as someone who simply helps a sex worker, SB 1204 also proposes removing any wording in the current law related to threats, violence, fraud or abuse against sex workers! It also proposes removing the current definition of pandering as “By fraud or artifice, or by duress of person or goods, or by abuse of any position of confidence or authority procures another person for the purpose of prostitution…” Why is any wording relating to threats and violence against sex workers in this proposed bill being removed? Removing this wording of pandering as abuse of any position of authority is alarming especially given the scandals involving police abuse of sex workers.
If SB 1204 passes, it will further isolate sex workers and push sex work further underground, putting sex workers at greater risk and danger. It will reinforce the vulnerability of sex workers to rape and other violence, and fuel the conditions that allowed an estimated over 200 Black women to be murdered or disappeared in Los Angeles. Police did little or nothing to investigate labeling these crimes as “NHI No Human Involved”.
There has been a recent rise in laws such as SB 1204 which profess to protect sex workers with the pretext of going after trafficking. On her website, the author of SB 1204, State Senator Pat Bates (R Dana Point), defines “pandering as it relates to human trafficking.” This bill misleads the public by wrongly confusing prostitution which is consenting sex work for money with trafficking which is the movement of people using force, coercion and fraud. The bill even further misinforms the public by pretending it is about safety whilst removing any reference to force and coercion!
Like the recent FOSTA/SESTA bills in Congress criminalizing websites where sex workers advertise, which have been introduced also using the claim of a crackdown on trafficking, Bills like SB 1204, will lead to more crack downs on sex workers, particularly on communities of color, and other immigrant communities.
Senators to write to:
Phone: (916) 651-4009
Fax: (916) 651-4909
Phone: (510) 286-1333
Fax: (510) 286-3885
Inglewood District Office
Phone: (310) 412-6120
Fax: (310) 412-6125
San Pedro District Office
Phone: (310) 514-8573
Phone: (916) 651-4019
Santa Barbara Office
Phone: (805) 965-0862
Fax: (805) 965-0701
Oxnard District Office
Holly J. Mitchell
Phone: (916) 651-4030
Fax: (916) 651-4930
Phone: (916) 651-4028
Fax: (916) 651-4928
Fax: (951) 894-3536