SF Weekly: Sex Work does not equal Sex Trafficking

In the SF Weekly, Nuala Sawyer reports that a new massage-therapist bill seeks to help victims of sex trafficking, but only further criminalizes those who engage in consensual sex work.

SF Weekly: Sex Work does not equal Sex Trafficking

San Francisco, Calif. has had a lot of firsts. But for all its outwardly progressive ideals, S.F. is still stubbornly conservative when it comes to a few social issues. High on the list are sex workers, a population that’s noticeably neglected by city officials who wield the power to fund vital services. We have no idea how many people engage in the sex trade citywide; the last legitimate study on San Francisco’s street-based sex workers was conducted in 2007. Only one strip club in the history of the city has ever successfully unionized.

And St. James Infirmary, the city’s only comprehensive sex worker drop-in center, relies on GoFundMe campaigns to pay for its moves. (It lost its first location in 2015 but managed to find another and relocate thanks to $35,000 in donations from the public, and requests another $35,000 for a move this year.)

Being ignored and underfunded is one issue, but when attention focuses on the trade in City Hall, it’s usually accompanied by stigma and criminalization. On Monday, several large changes to the city’s massage-practitioner laws flew through the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee, despite language that blatantly criminalizes people who have willingly engaged in the sex industry in the past.

The new guidelines would allow the city’s Director of Public Health to perform local, state, and federal background checks on people applying for massage permits, and grant them the power to deny permits for any applicant who has been convicted of an offense related to prostitution (unless it can be proven that the applicant did so unwillingly).

The whole story at SF Weekly

296340cookie-checkSF Weekly: Sex Work does not equal Sex Trafficking

SF Weekly: Sex Work does not equal Sex Trafficking

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