California, Other States Eye Reduced Penalties for Prostitution to Fight Sex TraffickingAugust 8, 2021
Gov. Janet Mills of Maine recently faced a dilemma — whether she should sign a bill reducing penalties for those who sell sex. Maine would have been the first state to fully decriminalize prostitution, as discussions intensify across the country about the potential for fighting human trafficking by decriminalizing prostitution and soliciting.
In San Diego, anti-trafficking advocates and law enforcement sources are aware of the efforts to legalize prostitution. It’s being advocated for sex workers who want the same rights as any worker in the country.
California is also facing another showdown of sorts: Senate Bill 357, which would no longer punish those found to have been “loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution.”
Maine, like San Diego, sits at the intersection of human trafficking across state and international borders. That state’s bill had elements that anti-trafficking advocates support: reduced penalties for people who have been sold into the sex trade along with support in the form of social services and opportunities.
It would have also increased punishment for pimps and traffickers who coerce often vulnerable people into the underground network.
Gov. Mills, however, vetoed the legislation after a local organization opposed it, pointing out that pimps could take advantage of the new system.
Read the full story by JW August on Times of San Diego