Resolution from the City of San Francisco prioritizing protection over prosecution of sex workers

City and County of San Francisco Master Report
Number: 001564 File Type: Resolution Status: Passed
Enacted: 810-00 Effective:
Version: 1 Reference: In Control: Mayor
File Name: Mitigating violence against prostitutes Introduced:   8/28/00
Requester: Cost: Date Passed: 9/29/00
Comment: No fiscal impact Title: Resolution urging the Police Department, the Office of   the District Attorney, and associated law enforcement agencies to rigorously   prosecute laws against coercion, extortion, battery, rape and other violent   crimes, regardless of the victim’s status as a sex worker; and further urging   aforementioned law enforcement agencies to reallocate existing resources for   the investigation and prosecution of prostitutes towards service programs to   enable women and their families to leave prostitution and become independent,   as well as to consider the adoption and implementation of the recommendations   of the 1996 San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution Report, the 1998   Commission on the Status of Women Report on Violence Against Women in   Prostitution in San Francisco as well as the Human Rights Commission   recommendations to address and reduce institutional violence and   discrimination against prostitutes.

Indexes: Sponsors: Ammiano, Bierman

WHEREAS, Rejection by family, poverty and homelessness often force young women and men to turn to prostitution to survival ; and

WHEREAS, These young women and men, who have limited yr no employment history and who are often under age, often temporarily turn to prostitution to obtain a room for the night or meal for the day ; and

WHEREAS, Without families, these young men and women fall prey to pimps and become entrapped in a hellish cycle of poverty, drug addiction, prostitution and violence; and

WHEREAS, Many prostitute women have children and must rely on prostitution to support their families; and

WHEREAS, Once entrapped in a life of prostitution, prostitutes experience a never ending cycle of violence including coercion, extortion, rape, battery, robbery, attempted homicide perpetrated against them by pimps, johns, and even law enforcement officials; and

WHEREAS, The majority of prostitutes do not report these illegal and violent acts because they are often dismissed, blamed for incurring such violence because of their profession or in some cases, further abused by law enforcement authorities knowing that the testimony of prostitutes would not considered credible; and

WHEREAS, it is only in cases of extreme violence in which a prostitute feels that her life is imminent danger that a prostitute will risk coming forward and testifying against her perpetrator; and

WHEREAS, Law enforcement officials should pursue and prosecute cases of rape, battery, assault, extortion, robbery and attempted homicide against prostitutes with the same rigor as any other citizen; and

WHEREAS, Criminalization of prostitution only forces prostitution further underground and increases incidents of violence against prostitutes; and

WHEREAS, The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution was created by the Board of Supervisors in 1996 ; and

WHEREAS, According 1996 statistics compiled by the Task Force on Prostitution, San Francisco allocates $7.6 million annually to law enforcement officials to prosecute prostitution related cases; and

WHEREAS, The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution, the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission passed resolutions urging the Board of Supervisors to redirect resources dedicated to prosecuting prostitution related cases to social service programs for prostitutes and their families ; and

WHEREAS, The aforementioned City agencies also recommended that law enforcement agencies rigorously prosecute laws against coercion, extortion, battery, rape and other violent crimes, regardless of victim’s status as a sex worker; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco hereby urges the San Francisco Police Department, the Office of the District Attorney and other associated law enforcement agencies to rigorously prosecute laws against coercion, extortion, battery, rape and other violent crimes, regardless of the victim’s status as a sex worker; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The Board of Supervisors urges the San Francisco Police Department, the Office of the District Attorney and other associated law enforcement agencies to reallocate resources for the investigation and prosecution of prostitutes towards establishing service programs to enable women and their families to leave prostitutes and become independent; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Supervisors urges the San Francisco Police Department, the Office of the District Attorney, and associated law enforcement agencies to consider adoption and implementation of the recommendations of the 1986 San Francisco Task Force On Prostitution Report, the 1998 Commission on the Status of Women Report on Violence Against Women in Prostitution in San Francisco as well as the Human Rights Commission recommendations to address and reduce institutional violence and discrimination against prostitutes.

SUPERVISOR AMMlANO

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