Washington, DC (January 6, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is calling on California Governor Gavin Newsom to veto SB 357, a bill that repeals loitering laws related to prostitution, making it easier for sex buyers and sex traffickers to exploit vulnerable people.
“If signed into law, SB 357 would severely limit law enforcement’s ability to identify victims of human trafficking,” said Dr. Stephany Powell, director of law enforcement training and survivor services at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, and a former LAPD Vice Sergeant. “Many officers rely on the loitering laws to initiate trafficking investigations that have led to serious convictions for traffickers and pimps.
“Additionally, the bill assumes that loitering laws are used to merely harass marginalized people, and by repealing them, these people will experience less discrimination from police. But that incorrect assumption will only cause further harm to communities with existing poverty and high crime,” Powell explained.
“What proponents of this bill ignore is the fact that sex buyers would more easily be able to purchase prostituted persons. The effect would increase sex trafficking in the state of California because the demand for prostituted persons will inevitably rise. We urge Governor Newsom to veto SB 357 and instead call for smart solutions to reduce prostitution and sex trafficking,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.