The state of CA claims to be acting for the safety and protection of adult performers with proposed legislation AB1576. CA policy has created dangerous gaps that have put people face to face with health and safety challenges. Here are things that California could do right now to protect its citizens that show the purported motivation behind AB1576 is in question.
5. Put in safeguards that protect the privacy of porn performer privacy
In practice, it is pretty much illegal for porn performers to have reasonable protections for their privacy. Unless most citizens who are not required to register two forms of government identification into unprotected databases. Privacy is a very big concern for all people right now and it is important that legislation to protect the safety of children also have reasonable protection for adults, too.
4. Stop slashing state funds to HIV/AIDS programs.
Budget cuts have been severe and everyone has taken a hit but so many community based organizations that were making strides in HIV prevention have been shuttered due to cuts. These programs did vital outreach to the most marginal of citizens who now have no means of support. $85 Million was cut in 2009. So many agencies serving the most at risk and in the least contact with health care workers are now without resources. At the very least, porn performers are in frequent contact with healthcare workers. Many people are entirely disconnected from any healthcare contacts.
3. Stop the persecution of harm reduction efforts
In many parts of the state, syringe exchange has been targeted for harassment by law enforcement. We know that harm reduction models like these decrease transmission of HIV and Hep C. We know that these programs save lives regularly by teaching overdose prevention thereby reducing dependency on emergency services. What has the state done to prevent harm reduction workers from facing jail time?
2. Ensure equal protection under the law
Sex workers live under a different set of rules. Porn performers, dancers, and street based providers all face a criminal justice that does not put in efforts to find their killers, solve their rapes, or even convict assailants who confess to their crimes and are definitely guilty all based solely on the nature of their occupation. If the state of California is working for the health and safety of adult performers, it should be articulated that crimes against them be pursued by state agents. If criminal complaints by adult performers are routinely dismissed, how then have performers been given an opportunity to challenge workplace violations that they’ve faced?
1. Impose a state wide moratorium for the use of condoms as evidence in criminal cases
If condoms are mandatory for porn performers and condoms can be used as evidence of prostitution, is the state of California thereby putting porn performers at risk for arrest? The state of CA just recently passed on another opportunity to ban the use of condoms as evidence and yet they are simultaneously pushing to mandate the use of condoms by porn performers. The state of California needs to review its process. People push to maintain the use of condoms as evidence as a way to convict traffickers. Opponents point out that then traffickers will force their victims to work without such “evidence” thereby putting the worker at risk. California does not have a good track record with interventions on behalf of sex workers that have been demonstrated to have positive net outcomes. This paradox of policy is a perfect depiction of the ways that the state goes out of its way to ignore the needs of sex workers.