Under Proposition 35, you'd be surprised
"In practice, in the way it's written, it expands the fees and sentences that can be applied to anyone depending on how the police want to enforce it," said Deirdre Wilson, program coordinator at the California Coalition for Women Prisoners.
Instead, Wilson said, lawmakers should "spend money to actually create viable resources for housing, recovery treatment, single mothers, vocational training, and jobs — things that people need to survive."
Sex workers rights advocates have always argued for decriminalization, saying that if they weren't afraid to reveal their work to police, they could be allies in identifying people who were being trafficked or otherwise exploited within their industry.
Anabelle, who now works in sex workers rights advocacy, agrees.
Decriminalization would "enable sex workers to actually help people without being in fear of arrest themselves," she said. "It would remove the fear of arrest from victims, because that's a big thing that keeps people from speaking out about it.
"I was afraid that if I went to law enforcement, I might be arrested," she said.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano has free-speech concerns about the bill. The law would require people, whose crimes had nothing to do with the Internet, to turn over their online usernames and passwords, which may be unconstitutional.
"Requiring someone to turn over every email and username that they have has a chilling effect on their free speech," said Ammiano aide Carlos Alcala, who also mentioned that Ammiano has been working on a tiered approach to the sex offender registry that takes into account the severity of the crime.
Prop. 35 is well-funded and likely to win. What Californian isn't against slavery and exploitation? But State Sen. Mark Leno, who is working on legislation to address sex trafficking without the problems in Prop. 35, advises that there's often more to the picture when it comes to these initiatives:
"I always suggest, beware of billionaires who want to save your life," Leno said.
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