On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom received a bill to sign that was passed through both chambers of the state legislature, which bans law enforcement from arresting prostitutes on loitering charges, according to ThePostMillennial.com.
The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener who claims that police officers disproportionately target black, transgender, and Latino female prostitutes, the New York Post reports.
But not everyone welcomed the prostitution bill with open arms. Greg Burt, a spokesman for the California Family Council said “This bill seems to be perfect if you want sex trafficking to even increase in California.”
“This bill is really going to affect poor neighborhoods — it’s not going to affect neighborhoods where these legislators live,” he added.
The bill, SB-357, will decriminalize loitering, which often leads to the solicitation of sex, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is already sounding the alarm. It warned in a statement that repealing the law would hinder the prosecution of criminals committing crimes related to prostitution and human trafficking. The bill would make it harder to identify and assist those being victimized, according to the department.
The law is “often used to keep prostitutes from hanging around public places, business and residential communities, which can breed crime and drug use,” the sheriff’s department said.
Weiner, however, argued that the loitering law “essentially allows law enforcement to target and arrest people if they are wearing tight clothes or a lot of makeup.”
Similar legislation has been passed in Seattle and New York City, which has added to a vast increase in criminal activity in areas that have become riddled by prostitution.