CASE ACT (Californians Against Sexual Exploitation)
Prop 35 exploits the public’s concern about human trafficking and the trafficking of minors to heighten criminalization of sex workers and all those associated with them. It increases prison sentences and fines, expands sex offender registration for all those convicted of trafficking, and clamps down on internet use for anyone convicted of trafficking for their entire lives.
Human Trafficking is already illegal in California. Prop 35 broadens the definition of trafficking and makes the penalties more severe, expanding the role of law enforcement agencies in targeted raids against sex workers and fueling the growth of the prison system.
- Further criminalizes sex workers, most of whom are women (majority mothers) and young, transgender and immigrant people. It can be used as a pretext to label sex workers themselves as pimps and traffickers. Prop 35 will discourage sex workers from seeking help when they are subjected to force and violence for fear of being caught in the criminal legal system.
- Targets undocumented sex workers for arrest and deportation through police sweeps under the guise of “searching” for trafficked victims who are minors.
- Criminalizes anyone that associates with a minor involved in prostitution regardless of whether there was any force or coercion involved.
- Increases police power to detain and interrogate people under the pretext of looking for trafficked minors and increases funding for law enforcement training to find traffickers.
- Channels money to victims’ services and non-profit agencies that work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, ICE and Homeland Security, giving those agencies a vested interest in the fines that are charged to those convicted of trafficking.
- Requires all people convicted of trafficking to register as sex offenders for life.
- Monitors the internet use of all those convicted as traffickers for life.
- Costs the state of California several million dollars to enforce.
Proposition 35 was initiated by non-profit California Against Slavery and is funded primarily by millionaire Chris Kelly, former Chief Privacy Officer for Facebook who ran unsuccessfully for state Attorney General against Kamala Harris in 2010. CASE may be his bid to win elected office in the future. By using emotionally charged terms like slavery and trafficking, Prop 35 has won the endorsement of a wide range of politicians and groups across the state – no one wants to be accused of being for human trafficking.
Human trafficking is a real problem but it cannot be solved by harsher laws and more police crackdowns. Sex workers and real victims of trafficking need supportive community services, options for employment, and educational programs that do not work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, Homeland Security and ICE .
The law enforcement, pro-prison, anti-woman, anti-trans agenda behind Prop 35 needs to be exposed and defeated!
California Coalition for Women Prisoners, http://www.womenprisoners.org
With information from the US PROStitutes Collective, www.prostitutescollective.net