SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – There has been a resurgence in prostitution on San Francisco’s Capp Street, and according to one Bay Area politician, prostitution should be legalized in California.
“We have tried many laws. Federal laws. State laws. It just keeps chasing the problem around. So, what we are hoping and trying to do is advocate for our state lawmakers to really address this issue and to legalize it,” said Santiago Lerma, Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s legislative aide.
“Yeah, sorry. Not down with this,” said Lieutenant Tracy McCray, San Francisco Police Officers Association president.
McCray said from a law enforcement perspective, legalizing criminal activity does not make the problems associated with those crimes go away, using the legal cannabis industry as an example.
“Not only were people going to the store to get marijuana, they’re still selling it out on the street. It didn’t stop anything. You still have people being shot over marijuana. You still have businesses being robbed of their marijuana. It didn’t stop it just because they said we’re going to make it legal, and everything is going to be good. That did not happen,” said Lt. McCray.
Another idea being debated is for legalizing prostitution on certain streets, for example, a red-light district. Outreach director at the St. James Infirmary, Celestina Pearl, said Mission Street and Potrero Avenue are two possible locations that might work, but she believes the voices of sex workers need to be included in this conversation.
“I think a town hall meeting with the interested parties, folks who would be affected by this, would be a really great first start,” said Pearl.
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Supervisor Scott Wiener and California Assemblymember Matt Haney were both unavailable to give their perspectives on the idea of decriminalizing prostitution in California. Lerma said the supervisor’s office aims to move the proposal forward in San Francisco.
“We will be introducing a resolution at the Board of Supervisors urging this action from the state legislature,” said Lerma.