The Sweet Spot: Prostitution and Prop 35


Long ago, I poured a pint for a fellow who asked me to advise him about his love life. Or rather, his sex life. I began to give him the usual lines: Don't have an agenda, be a giver, etc. But then he said, "Nah. I just really want to fuck. I don't want to have to know their name. Just a really good ramming, you know?" I abruptly cut off lines of communication and gave him my friend Anya's business card (not her real name). Dominatrix extraordinaire, she would know just how to handle him. Thank god for the professionals.

See also:

Remembering Robyn Few, the Patron Saint of Sex Workers

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And a professional was precisely what Anya was. Not a victim. Not a drug-addled desperate. Not a post-molestation kinkstress. She was, in all ways, a pro and very good at her job. Her particular specialty was being able to spray urine into her clients' faces, most of whom were lawyers and Wall Street brokers. The Dow Jones might have suffered considerably if she hadn't been in business.

Courtesy of Firedoglake

People may have issues with her choice of career. Few however, would accuse her of being a criminal. But California State law does. Despite great achievements in many other areas of civil rights, a person who chooses to trade sex or sexual play for money is still considered to be engaging in illegal activity. It has been this way, in most of the country, for a long time, but just as sex worker activists were gaining ground in their efforts -- not to legalize, but merely to decriminalize prostitution -- Proposition 35 was voted in by an overwhelming margin. The proposition claims that its purpose is to crack down on sex offenders, and entails the following:

  • Increases criminal penalties for human trafficking, including prison sentences up to 15 years to life, and fines up to $1,500,000
  • Fines collected to be used for victim services and law enforcement
  • Requires person convicted of trafficking to register as sex offender
  • Requires sex offenders to provide information regarding Internet access and identities they use in online activities
  • Prohibits evidence that victim engaged in sexual conduct from being used against victim in court proceedings
  • Requires human trafficking training for police officers

What decent, moral, upright citizen would be daft enough to vote against that? I voted against Prop 35, not because I support the practice of sexual exploitation, nor am I a fan of rapists. I do however, support effective legislation, a thing Prop 35 is not. 

Before you say, "Oh Ginger, but the voting is done. Yay Obama! There is nothing we can do about the rest of it." Not so. A marvelous Judge, a certain Thelton Henderson of the Northern District of California has granted a temporary stay on implementing the measure and will hear arguments against the measure on December 17th at 10 am.

Most victims of trafficking, due to being illegal as either immigrants, prostitutes, or both, are too terrified to bear witness to the authorities, and it is their testimony that is most often essential to prosecutors. This measure does not help that situation nor does it actually support those it claims to benefit.

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