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How the Safer Streets for All Act will change law enforcement in San Diego

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Prostitution |

Starting in 2023, a new law will go into effect that could significantly change how police in San Diego and across California deal with sex workers. The law, known as the Safer Streets for All Act or SB 357, will repeal an interpretation of the law that officers have used for decades to arrest people suspected of prostitution.

A crime to ‘look’ like a sex worker

As ACLU California Action explains, the law currently allows police to arrest someone on suspicion of loitering with intent to commit prostitution. The law, as enforced, has disproportionally affected people of color in California. For example, the Black community of Los Angeles County makes up about 9.8 percent of the total population. But most people arrested for this form of loitering in L.A. County are Black, frequently women. Trans people also get disproportionately targeted for arrest under this statute. Critics say this is because the law essentially makes it a crime to “look” or “seem” like a sex worker in a police officer’s eyes.

SB 357 will repeal the loitering with intent to commit prostitution statute, starting when it goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. It will not decriminalize prostitution or solicitation. But it is intended to cut down on low-level arrests that statistically affect minorities the most. With a record of loitering charges, it can be difficult to apply for a job or decent housing.

What to do after a solicitation arrest

Though the law is changing, you can still find yourself arrested and charged with solicitation of prostitution. Whether or not you are convicted, having a solicitation charge on your record can be highly embarrassing. It is important to confront these charges as soon as possible to minimize disruption to your career and harm to your personal life.

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