We won! Senate Bill 1204 is defeated April 26, 2018 Sex workers and supporters mobilized forcefully and successfully against a bill in the California legislature Senate Bill SB 1204. The Bill would have expanded the definition of pandering and further criminalized sex workers and anyone associating with us.
US PROStitutes Collective and SWOP/Sacramento called a protest and press conference at the state capitol in Sacramento, CA, to oppose SB 1204. Over 50 sex workers and supporters came together in a lively action chanting and speaking out about the injustices of the Bill, and some of the participants went into the capitol building to lobby senators on the Committee hearing the Bill. One of the senator’s aides unveiled the huge pile of faxes that had come in in opposition to the Bill – evidence of our effective campaign.
The following morning, representatives from US PROS and SWOP/Sacramento attended the hearing and raised their objections to the bill. See video here. An impressive stream of people then came forward to state their opposition to the Bill including a large number of youth of color from the Youth Justice Coalition as well as the ACLU; Public Defenders Association; Global Women’s Strike; Communities United for Restorative Justice; Love not Blood Campaign; Equality California; Taxpayers for Improving Safety; White People for Black Lives; Anti-Police Terror Project; California Attorneys for Criminal Justice; Free Speech Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America, Poor People’s Campaign and others.
As a result the author was compelled to withdraw her amendments. A victory! But instead she proposed horrible language on “Supervising a Prostitute” which criminalizes street prostitution and anyone hanging out with sex workers! We were appalled. But better news was to come. At the hearing on Tuesday April 24, three senators voted for this new language and one against. A forth was needed for the Bill to pass but no other senator came forward and the Bill died!
What a victory! It shows that when we get together and organize and others stand with us we can win! This is a much needed win in the ongoing battle against SESTA/FOSTA , federal legislation that will make sex workers less safe by outlawing online advertising, leading to more crack downs on sex workers, particularly on communities of color and other immigrant communities.