FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 13, 2018
Contact: Allison Ruff
Sacramento – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) that provides immunity from prosecution for prostitution to sex workers who come forward to report serious crimes.
“Every Californian deserves access to justice, regardless of their line of work,” said Assemblymember Laura Friedman. “With the Governor’s signature on AB 2243, we’re empowering a vulnerable population to report crimes, which will in turn create safer communities for all of us.”
In a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco & St. James Infirmary, over 60% of sex workers face some form of assault while engaged in sex work – 32% reported a physical assault, while 29% reported a sexual assault.
“This historic legislation creates a path in California for sex workers to come forward and say, ‘me, too,’” said Minouche Kandel, Women’s Policy Director at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women.
Currently, many prosecutors provide immunity to sex workers who act as cooperating witnesses and do not prosecute for prostitution. AB 2243 would simply codify this common practice. Specifically, the bill provides protections for sex workers who want to come forward to report a crime of violence perpetrated against them during an act of prostitution, or want to testify as a witness to such a crime by barring evidence of criminal liability for prostitution if the sex worker engaged in the act is a victim or witness to extortion, stalking, or a violent felony.
“We wouldn’t be able to do our job without courageous victims and witnesses of crime coming forward,” said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. “That is why this legislation is so important, it protects vulnerable victims and witnesses of violent crime and reassures them to come forward to testify against violent offenders. I am so incredibly proud of the work we all did together on this important issue and am elated to see Governor Brown sign this legislation into law.”
AB 2243 passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support. The provisions of the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Laura Friedman represents the 43rd Assembly District which encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake.