This November, San Francisco voters can decriminalize prostitution in our City by voting Yes on Proposition K. St. James Infirmary is against the criminalizing of sex workers for their profession. Regardless of how sex workers got to their current job, being criminalized is a social injustice with serious public health consequences. Police and prosecutors say they need to arrest and jail adult and child prostitutes in our community to “protect” them. Criminalizing them and sending them to jail is not the solution. Jail means the loss of families, community, housing and other assets. Rates of infections like TB, HIV and staph in jail are greater than in the general public making going jail a health risk. Our peer-reviewed, published research shows that sex workers who work collectively have lower rates of HIV & STIs than independent workers. However, since prostitution is illegal, labor organizing to improve their health is a crime.
Sex workers are victims of rape, robbery, and exploitation. Our research shows that arresting sex workers makes them more likely to experience violence and test positive for HIV & STIs. When sex work is criminalized, many are afraid to report crimes committed against them. When they do report violence, they seldom receive justice. Prop K will not cut funding to fight forced prostitution—but it will prohibit funding for racial profiling tactics and change the priority from arresting prostitutes to stopping violent criminals who exploit and assault them.
In accordance with our mission, we have been offering compassionate, non-judgmental care to thousands of sex workers who voluntarily come to our clinic. SF should be offering services like healthcare, shelter, food and job training to those who want and need it the most and we support organizations providing these needed, voluntary services to the most marginalized sex workers in the City. We encourage you to make an informed decision this November at the ballot. For more information, visit the YesOnPropK Campaign.