Stand-In Against the Arrest of Sex Workers and Sit/Lie

US PROStitutes Collective

P.O. Box 14512, San Francisco, CA 94114


 When: 12 Noon, Thursday, May 20

Where: Corner of Polk and Sutter Streets in San Francisco

Contact: Rachel West, US PROS (415) 640-4250

A “Stand-In” at Polk and Sutter Streets tomorrow will protest:

  • Increased arrests of sex workers in the last couple of months
  • The “Sit/Lie” bill proposed by Chief of Police Gascón and Mayor Newsom’s which will further criminalize people living and working on the street.

“Sit/Lie” will make it illegal to sit and lie on the sidewalk between 7am and 11pm under threat of a fine and jail*.  It is being vigorously opposed by a wide coalition of people who have organized “sit ins” on sidewalks throughout the City. The SF Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly against the Bill and the SF Labor Council has stood against it.

Since our February 4 “Stand-In”, many sex workers, mainly women, men and transgender people of color, are reporting continued harassment and arrest when in the Polk Street corridor”, says Rachel West of US PROS. “Sex workers are being arrested over and over again for loitering/nuisance charges. No evidence is needed, just the word of a cop. Single mothers, young people and others forced into prostitution to survive in harsh economic times, are being caught up by these laws.  Sit/Lie can only make it worse.”

 “The Sit/Lie law will impact an entire class of people, almost all who engage in no criminal activity,” says Jennifer Friedenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness, co-sponsor of the Stand-In.  “There is already 27 different ordinances on the books to harass the homeless. Such laws have been tried before”.

First targeted under the proposed Sit/Lie law will be people of color and those who are young, homeless, immigrants and sex workers”, says Nell Myhand of Legal Action for Women. “ Already, Black women are seven times more likely than white women to be arrested for prostitution; immigrant women are routinely targeted for arrest and deportation under the pretext of saving victims of trafficking, and 40% of men arrested are men of color.   How much will Sit/Lie cost to implement? Who is profiting from this? In 2009 the media reported a $1 million abuse of police overtime”.

Harvey Milk came out against the previous version of a Sit/Lie law in San Francisco that was used to target gay men in the 70’s and the law was struck down”, says Lori Nairne of Wages Due Lesbians. “Opponents of Sit/Lie are similarly determined to defeat this proposal.”

 *Sit/Lie law gives the police enormous discretion to arrest anyone on the sidewalk between 7am and 11pm. First-time violators get a warning then a citation with a $50 to $100 fine. Second violation results in 10 days in jail or a fine of $300 to $500, and each violation after that would be subject to a $500 fine and 30 days in jail.


►►►►PUBLIC MEETING “Rape, Prostitution, Trafficking – the Issue is Consent” Thursday, June 3, 5:30-7:30pm at the SF Public Library, Latino/Hispanic Room B, 100 Larkin Street with keynote speaker Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock of Faith Voices for the Common Good, co-author of “Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia & the United States”.

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