Why California’s prostitution ban needs to stay in place
A case in the federal court system in California could impact the safety and wellbeing of exploited adults and children beyond the state’s borders.
The Erotic Service Providers Legal, Education, and Research Project has gone to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in its quest to overturn California laws that ban prostitution. Lisa Thompson of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation says the laws need to stay in place because otherwise, trafficked people are used as human commodities.
“It really preys upon the most vulnerable members of our society. It’s … built on the backbone of minors,” Thompson asserts. “A lot of those who are in the sex trade started in prostitution as children. Additionally, we know that a lot of homeless people, ethnic minorities, make up the bulk of the people, and also economically disadvantaged people.”
A decision in the Project’s favor would roll out the red carpet for those who keep the victims, sometimes forcibly, in the trade.
“If the court were to be in favor of this group, the potential is that not only would the laws in California that prohibit prostitution … be overturned, but it would put in jeopardy the laws in the states of the entire Ninth Circuit,” Thompson warns. “So that’s several other states [and] represents about 20 percent of the nation’s population.”
12 organizations have signed on to a brief submitted by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation asking that the laws be upheld.