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Its pioneering step to protect sex workers, San Francisco has adopted policies that protect those in the sex industry from being charged with prostitution when they come forward to report violent crimes.
Fact: statistically speaking, prostitution is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. where many sex workers face death, physical violence, and rape every day.
San Francisco becomes the first city in the U.S. that has offered legal protections to sex workers when reporting violent crimes to law enforcement. Up until now, crimes experienced or witnessed by prostitutes and sex workers have been overwhelmingly unreported and underreported due to fear of arrest.
The move is designed to reveal and prosecute the crimes on the part of police officers and law enforcement officials in San Francisco, where impunity and lack of fear of consequences create temptations for law enforcement to beat, rape and even murder sex workers during brothel raids and arrests of sex workers.
The new policy – dubbed “Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers” – will now allow sex workers who are victims of violent crimes to report crimes without fear of arrest and punishment for offering their sexual favors in exchange for money.
Our San Francisco sex crimes defense attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter explain that the policy comes as the city and other California cities are considering decriminalizing prostitution.
Sex work advocates have long prompted authorities to shield prostitutes from being arrested at least when reporting violent crimes carried out by their clients, police officers or law enforcement officials.
After all, arresting a sex offender, rapist or child sexual abuser contributes far more to promoting the public’s health and safety than arresting a sex worker does.
Under the policy change, prostitutes – both juvenile and adult – will be able to report crimes without being arrested or prosecuted for misdemeanor prostitution and drug related offenses, our best sex crimes defense attorneys in San Francisco explain.
The policy is seen as the first move on the course of providing more protections to sex workers, as the nation, and San Francisco in particular, has been weighing options to decriminalize prostitution.
Sex workers face high rates of violence and become victims and witnesses of crimes such as sex trade, human trafficking, sexual assault, robbery, assault, kidnapping, blackmail and other violent crimes in San Francisco.
The policy change comes after a string of reports of San Francisco law enforcement officials being criminally charged with having sex with underage and adult sex workers.
Due to the fear of being arrested or charged with prostitution – as well as fear of retaliation from other police officers and law enforcement officials – most sex workers choose not to report these crimes to police.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, beaten, victim of human trafficking or sex trade, kidnapped, or involved in any other violent crimes, you can now go to police and report violent crimes.
If you’ve been arrested or charged with prostitution even when the new policy came into effect in San Francisco, hiring a San Francisco sex crimes defense attorney is your best line of defense.
Only an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer can build a strong case in your defense and make sure that your rights are not being violated. Consult our skilled attorneys at Okabe & Haushalter to get a free initial consultation and find out your best course of action.
Call our San Francisco offices today at 310-430-7799 or fill out this contact form.