St. James Infirmary is a peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers of all genders.
It is our mission to meet the needs of people engaged in the sex trade through advocacy, direct services, and social justice.
Sex Worker’s Health, Rights and Safety supported by Governor Newsom and California!
Sacramento, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 233 into law - expanding proven local policies that prioritize the health and safety of people in the sex trade. SB 233 authored by Sen. Scott Wiener and sponsored by Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) – Sacramento, St. James Infirmary, Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESLERP), Dr. Alix Lutnick and the US PROStitutes Collective gives sex workers immunity from arrest for sex work-related and minor drug offenses when they come forward as a witness to or as a victim of certain violent crimes. The new law also prohibits condoms from being used as evidence to arrest or prosecute someone for sex work-related offenses.
In addition to the sponsors, SB 233 was supported by broad coalition of advocates from the sex worker rights, harm reduction, LGBTQ rights, public health and HIV advocacy, and criminal justice movements in addition to the San Francisco County, Alameda County and Los Angeles District Attorney’s offices.
Sex workers and trafficking survivors experience and witness alarming rates of violence but too often fear reporting crimes to law enforcement in the event they themselves may be arrested or mistreated by the police. California now joins Alaska and Oregon, as well as the city and county of San Francisco and Berkeley by putting policies into place that prevent sex workers from being arrested when reporting violent crime. “This is a historic day for the sex workers in California. We now have a voice when it comes to reporting our exploitation, rapes, and other acts of violence that we have long had to endure, ” said Kristen DiAngelo, Executive Director of SWOP- Sacramento. “After 40 years in the sex trade, and being trafficked for 10 of those years, I never thought that we would see a change in my lifetime. Allowing sex workers to carry condoms and report violent offenses will be lifesaving, ” said Pearl Callahan, Outreach Director of SWOP- Sacramento.
The criminalization of sex work disproportionately impacts people of color, street-based sex workers and transgender people, with Black street-based sex workers bearing the brunt of harassment, policing and violence as a result. As the crisis of persistent violence against transgender women of color continues to escalate nationwide, the passage of SB 233 takes a critical step towards prioritizing the health and safety of some of the most marginalized Californians. “As an African-American transwoman, I am so glad we have finally gotten rid of the harmful policy of collecting condoms as evidence because of the disproportionate and negative impact on sex workers and transgender people,” said Toni Newman, Executive Director of St. James Infirmary.
The St. James Infirmary community fought for years to ban the use of condoms as evidence, and in 2013 the City of and County of San Francisco finally recognized the practice unsafely discourages sex workers from using them and passed a local policy to prohibit police and prosecutors from using them as evidence in prostitution cases. With the passage of SB 233, police and prosecutors throughout the state will no longer be able use condoms to criminalize individuals in the sex trade. “Simply put, treating condoms as evidence is unsafe. Sex workers deserve the right to safety and to control their working conditions. SB 233 is a commonsense policy change that supports the self-determination and the right of sex workers to protect themselves,” said Arneta Rogers, Reproductive Justice and Gender Equity Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. A step towards decriminalization, we applaud Governor Newsom for signing this important bill!
SB 233 will take effect in January 2020.
What We Believe
There are many factors which affect the working conditions and experiences for all Sex Workers including the political and economic climate, poverty and homelessness, stigmatization, violence, as well as the overwhelming intricacies of the legal, public and social systems. It is the philosophy of St. James Infirmary to build upon existing skills and strengths in order to allow individuals to determine their own goals.
- We are fundamentally against the criminalizing of Sex Workers—regardless of our different perspectives on decriminalization or legalization, the collective view of the St. James Infirmary is that incarceration of our community further marginalizes and disenfranchised us, which creates barriers to capacity building, and exacerbates a public health crisis.
- We believe in revolution through healthcare. We challenge the conventional healthcare model that divides patients and providers and fosters unhealthy power dynamics. Our peer-based model creates a safe, trusted, and honest environment in which to provide services, and empowers our community to define our own well-being.
- We are founded on the principles of harm reduction—St. James Infirmary supports Sex Workers being treated with dignity and respect, in every aspect of their lives
- We increase access to primary healthcare and social services for Sex Workers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
- We formalize communication and collaboration among individuals and agencies who serve Sex Workers to better serve our community.
- We promote peer-based public health initiatives on behalf of Sex Workers, which may be used as a model for improving occupational health and safety standards and developing comprehensive medical and social services for Sex Workers around the world.
From Our Blog
St. James Infirmary is proud to welcome California attorney James Burch as our new Policy and Advocacy Officer thanks to our generous funding from the Levi Strauss Foundation. Due to James’s extensive legal experience in the State of California and a steadfast commitment to St. James’s mission in search of justice, community engagement, and the […]Read More
St. James Infirmary: Statement of Support for AHPA’s “Addressing Law Enforcement Violence As a Public Health Issue” Policy Statement
St. James Infirmary stands behind the American Public Health Association on adopting a recent policy statement addressing law enforcement violence as a public health issue. The APHA policy statement, “Addressing Law Enforcement Violence as a Public Health Issue”, acknowledges that law enforcement-centered approaches to public health disproportionately target marginalized communities. We applaud the APHA for taking […]Read More
Year-End Giving &Tax Benefits As you do your tax planning We hope you will consider making good use of your income tax charitable deduction. Your year-end gift can reduce your income taxes while providing meaningful support to our programs at St. James Infirmary. Any questions please contact, James P. Martinez Development Officer 415-724-5255 email@example.com Please keep in mind your amazon […]Read More
St James Infirmary’s Community Holiday Party & Celebration of Sex Worker Resilience! Monday, December 17th 5-7pm at 730 Polk Street, near Ellis 4th Floor in the Audre Lorde Room SF Join us as we celebrate another year of sex workers’ strength, survival, community and resistance. Food, non-alcoholic beverages, music, gifts and sex worker community! December […]Read More
In light of their recent relocation into new facilities at 730 Polk Street, which they will share with the San Francisco Community Health Center (SFCHC), St. James Infirmary is proud to invite the community to its inaugural open house celebration at the end of the month. For nearly twenty years, St. James has been a […]Read More
SJI Board of Directors approved SJI advisory board last night. SJI Advisory Board formed and will be led by SJI Founder/Executive Director Johanna Breyer. PURPOSE: The St. James Infirmary Advisory Board is created as a standing committee for the purpose of working with the Board of Directors and Executive Management Team. The purpose of this Board shall be […]Read More
If you accessed HIV testing services through St. James Infirmary’s mobile testing van between July 3, 2018 and July 16, 2018
If you accessed HIV testing services through St. James Infirmary’s mobile testing van between July 3, 2018 and July 16, 2018, PLEASE CLICK HERERead More
As the nation’s only peer-based occupational health and safety clinic for sex workers, The St. James Infirmary opposes the decision of the IAC to host the 2020 International AIDS Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area. Due to our current administration’s harsh immigration policies, obtaining visas to attend this conference will be impossible for many […]Read More