AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today applauded California Governor Gavin Newsom for signing SB 233 (Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco), a bill which prohibits possession of condoms for use as evidence of prostitution when prosecuting someone for sex work crimes.
AHF commends Governor Newsom for promptly signing Senator Wieners SB 233, a prudent piece of legislation that will increase safety for sex workers, an often marginalized population frequently exposed to violence who may use condoms in their work to prevent certain health risks, said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. By eliminating condoms as evidence of prostitution, these workers also may be less likely to contract STDs or become pregnant, so the bill should have an overall positive effect on public health as well.
According to the California Legislative Information website and its Legislative Counsels Digest report on SB 233:
Existing law criminalizes various aspects of sex work, including soliciting anyone to engage in, or engaging in, lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place, loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution, or maintaining a public nuisance. Existing law, the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act (CUCSA), also criminalizes various offenses relating to the possession, transportation, and sale of specified controlled substances.
SB 233 now prohibits introducing the possession of a condom as evidence in the prosecution of a violation of soliciting or engaging in lewd or dissolute conduct in a public place, soliciting or engaging in acts of prostitution, loitering in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution, or for maintaining a public nuisance, if the offense is related to an act of prostitution.
This law prohibits the arrest of a person for a misdemeanor violation of the CUCSA or specified sex work crimes, if that person is reporting that they are a victim of, or a witness to, specified crimes.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.2 million individuals in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us @aidshealthcare.
Ged Kenslea, Senior Director, Communications, AHF
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