Help Stop Police Crackdown on Sex Workers in the Mission District, SF

 Action Alert: Help Stop Police Crackdown on Sex Workers in
 the Mission District in San Francisco 
A police and city crackdown on sex workers in the Mission District is targeting sex workers, particularly women of color, for harassment and arrest. Proposals to block streets with water-filled barricades and bring in motorcycle cops to give out tickets come on top of the police shining massive lights at people to push them out of the neighborhood. Women are being displaced to more isolated, unlit areas to avoid arrest and are at greater risk of rape, other violence and even murder. 

Please write using the sample letter below and/or call District Attorney Brooke Jenkins ( 652-4000) to ask she

1. Publicly withdraw her support for this police crackdown and abandon prosecuting sex work related offenses. 

2. Urge her to enforce the repeal of the loitering law introduced in January this year.

Also below is a sample tweet. Please tweet widely.

● Sexist, racist, transphobic policing was the reason that the loitering for prostitution law was repealed in California last year. In San Francisco, where the Black population is 5.2%, 66% of women arrested for prostitution are Black. Under the loitering law, people were subjected to “harmful treatment” simply for “appearing’ to be a sex worker.” Are the police persecuting women now out of spite? 

● The increase in sex workers in the area is because of rising poverty, homelessness and income inequality. The cost of living in San Francisco is 94% higher than the national average and rent is 238% higher. About 70% of sex workers are mothers, mostly single mothers, trying to feed themselves and their children.

● The new District Attorney, Brooke Jenkins, has reversed former DA Chesa Boudin’s policy of not prosecuting crimes of poverty like prostitution, and is now charging sex work related offenses.

● Tony Flores, from the SF police Special Victims Unit, part of this crackdown, boasted in a meeting with local residents that he is “going to try and make it uncomfortable for those people that go out there… so, let the games begin.” Setting the police on vulnerable women described as a game! He should be censured for this. It is reminiscent of the “hunting down hookers” mindset, or when sex worker murders were referred to as NHI (no humans involved). It is claimed that the crackdown is aimed at sex workers’ clients, but women are always targeted first and caused the most harm.

● This crackdown targets others like homeless people, prohibiting them from sitting or lying on the sidewalk, and Black and Latino people in traffic stops. It is particularly vicious at a time of widening income inequality when the number of women, particularly mothers, going into prostitution is increasing because of rising poverty.

This crackdown won’t help women leave sex work or reduce prostitution. Instead the City should implement policies to address poverty such as replacing the expanded Child Tax Credit which the Congress allowed to expire. Poor women and children need and deserve a Guaranteed Care Income for single mothers at risk of criminalization.
From: US PROStitutes Collective, Global Women’s Strike, Women of Color/GWS
Sample letter to District Attorney Brooke Jenkins

Dear District Attorney,

As a San Francisco resident, I am writing to register my strong opposition to the police crackdown on sex workers in the Mission District. Women will be pushed out to more isolated and dangerous areas, which will only put them at greater risk of rape, and other violence. 

I’m dismayed that you are filing sex work related charges if the police bring cases to you. Any increase in sex work activities on Capp and 20th must be because more women are struggling to survive and feed families at a time of economic crisis. It makes no sense to me to prosecute women who will be pushed back out onto the street to get the money to pay fines. 

Surely city resources could be better spent on tackling poverty, homelessness, debt, domestic violence and other factors that drive women, particularly single mothers, into prostitution. Criminal records prevent women from leaving prostitution and getting other jobs.

I’m also concerned about the impact of this stepped-up enforcement on communities of color. Figures show that enforcement of prostitution laws disproportionately target Black and other women of color. Sexist, racist, transphobic policing was the reason the loitering for prostitution law was recently repealed in California.

Also concerning to me is how this crackdown is targeting other vulnerable people including prohibiting those who are homeless from sitting or lying on the sidewalk, and targeting Black and Latino people in traffic stops. 

I urge you to reconsider your position and explore alternatives to criminalizing people who are just trying to make a living. This criminalization causes devastating and lasting harm. 


Sample Tweet
Stop the police crackdown in Mission District/SF @BrookeJenkinsSF! Sex workers, particularly women of color, are targeted for police racism, illegality & arrest; pushed into isolated areas & danger. Attacking poverty must be the priority, not women working to support families! 

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