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
JOB POSTING HIV SERVICES MANAGER 32-40 hours per week at $23 per hour The St. James Infirmary is hiring an HIV Services Manager to oversee our HIV Prevention Programming. St. James currently has a contract with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to provide HIV testing, counseling and linkage services to high risk HIV negative […]Read More
The St. James Infirmary’s Annual Holiday Party will be Thursday, December 18th from 6-8pm! We invite staff, volunteers & community members of the SJI, as well as their friends and family, to join us for dinner and holiday cheer in the community room at 1372 Mission Street. After the Holiday Party, we will be having a […]Read More
It is with great excitement that we announce that the SJI has been awarded two new contracts from Community Behavioral Health Services to provide comprehensive mental health and substance use services to our community. Beginning this week, current and former sex workers may come to St. James to receive individual therapy and case management with […]Read More
Thank you to the readers of the San Francisco Bay Guardian for Voting us Best Nonprofit in the Bay! We are honored and humbled by the love and support. Here’s a throwback to 2003, when we won “Best Place to Find Sex Worker Community”Read More
The St. James Infirmary 15 Year Report is now available on line. You can download the pdf version below. xv-report-spreads-final xv-report-pages-final XV was a BLAST!! We raised over $27,000!! Thank you to all our fabulous donors, volunteers, performers and supporters who came out to make our 15 Year Anniversary a HUGE success!! Thanks to Dave, […]Read More
St. James Infirmary Presents: XV Dirty Dance Party Fundraiser! Celebrating our 15 Year Anniversary Thursday, June 5th, 2014 9pm-3am Temple Nightclub 540 Howard St., San Francisco St. James Infirmary is the first occupational safety and health clinic for sex workers in the United States – providing free, confidential, nonjudgmental medical and social services for […]Read More
Created by staff and participants of the SJI’s STRIDE Program, the 2014 STRIDE Zine provides basic information about our hormone clinic, safer injection tips, legal resources, new surgery guidelines for California, and recommended reading for the savvy trans sex worker! Download your copy here!Read More
On Thursday, June 5th from 9pm – 3am SJI will be raising cash and partying like hookers at Temple Night Club. Dance all night on the main floor upstairs, get kinky in the dungeon, and get hot & bothered in the VIP room with lap dancing, table dancing and other temptations. Performers needed (all genders please!) […]Read More
Free Movie! Free Pizza! Free Condoms! Help us spread the love to sex workers in time for Valentine’s Day! St. James Infirmary gives out safer sex supplies to over 2,000 sex workers in the Bay Area every year, but we need YOUR help to make it happen! Come get a tour of the clinic, hear […]Read More