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New ‘Prostitute’ Bill Could Mean Human Trafficking Surges

New ‘Prostitute’ Bill Could Mean Human Trafficking Surges

A bill that would decriminalize loitering while intending to engage in prostitution is making its way to California’s Governor Gavin Newsom in early 2022. Opponents of the bill say it will have a huge impact on victims of sex trafficking, which is heavily intertwined with the business of prostitution.

Survivors of sex trafficking say the bill will essentially drive demand for prostitution and other illicit businesses will increase. 

“We don’t want to see the demand go up, when you increase the demand, you need more supply so trafficking is going to go up. We want to fight trafficking, we don’t want to encourage it,” Marjorie Saylor, a survivor of sex trafficking, told NBC news. 

The anti-loitering law would take away the one mechanism police have to intervene with prostitutes and refer them to various programs that can educate them about human trafficking. 

“Law enforcement cannot do anything to intervene because there is no crime committed anymore, it is no longer a crime, they need a reason to go in,” Saylor added.

Stephany Powell from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said the law would also empower sex traffickers themselves. Since it would be much harder to make arrests, it severely cripples law enforcement, giving human traffickers and sex buyers immunity. 

The bill is so egregious that even moderate Democrats statewide are leaning with Republicans in both houses, given how dangerous it can be for young women being trafficked. 

If signed into law, the bill would also allow those who have been convicted of the act in the past to have the convictions dismissed, as well as any record of the act sealed.

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