November 28, 2014
Proposition K: Legal prostitution in San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO--San Franciscans have voted for free citywide wireless, banning handguns and impeaching President Bush. Now the question is whether residents, no strangers to groundbreaking ideas, think the world's oldest profession should be considered a crime.

Proposition K would effectively decriminalize prostitution in the city by barring the Police Department from investigating and prosecuting it. The measure is being alternately hailed as a human rights landmark or a misguided venture that will turn San Francisco into a playground for sex tourists and pimps.

Prop. K is far from the first attempt to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco, a city task force recommended the move in 1996, but the reaction to it has been visceral.

It's triggered a court fight over ballot language, drawn swift condemnation from Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris, split Democratic and Green party officials alike, and caused a heated debate over whether it will help or thwart investigations into the $8 billion global sex trafficking industry, in which San Francisco is a major hub.

The measure was endorsed by the local Democratic Party but opposed by some who are open to legalizing prostitution. They say the measure is flawed because it doesn't require HIV testing, set requirements on the location of brothels, limit street prostitution or address programs to assist prostitutes who want leave the business.

Backers of the measure, which include sex worker advocacy groups, say it will cut crime and protect prostitutes from assault and rape because they could report crimes without fear of being arrested. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
Story Date: October 23, 2008
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