This Is Why California May Stop Some Prostitution Arrests

A bill focusing on decriminalizing sex work in California is heading to Governor Gavin Newsom's desk.

The L.A. Times reports the measure would rescind the misdemeanor law against loitering in public for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.

Advocates for the measure say the current system relies on police officers' perceptions of whether a person is soliciting based on their appearance. The bill's author, Senator Scott Wiener said California's existing loitering law "essentially allows law enforcement to target and arrest people if they are wearing tight clothes or a lot of makeup." 

Supports also believe that the existing law targets minorities and transgender people, and that the practice leads to unsafe work conditions.

Opponents say the bill would remove a crucial tool to stop sex trafficking and would hamstring victim outreach efforts. Greg Burt of the California Family Council said "This bill seems to be perfect if you want sex trafficking to increase in California. This bill is really going to affect poor neighborhoods — it's not going to affect neighborhoods where these legislators live."

Governor Newsom has 12 days to sign or veto the bill after receiving it on Monday.

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