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CA Public Safety Committee Kills Bill to Recriminalize Loitering for Prostitution 

Democrat members of the Senate Public Safety Committee killed proposed legislation earlier this month that sought to reintroduce criminal penalties for anyone trolling the streets looking to buy someone for sex. The bill also applied to the women and girls being sold. SB 1219, introduced by Senator Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), sought to bring back a previously abolished section of California’s penal code that police used to curb the most dangerous type of prostitution, street walking.

The bill that legalized loitering for prostitution was SB 357, or the Safer Streets for All Act, penned by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2022. After signing the bill there was a predictable surge in street-level prostitution, pimping, and pandering in various California cities, including Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

“Sex traffickers loved SB 357 because it lets them run their open-air sex trafficking businesses in our poorest communities with little police interference,” said CFC Vice President Greg Burt. “Senator Wiener’s promises of increased safety for trafficked girls and women have not been fulfilled. His policies have instead empowered exploiters and those purchasing sex, all the while hindering police attempts to save victims from sex trafficking.”

SB 1219 would have classified loitering in public spaces with the intention of engaging in prostitution as a misdemeanor. Further, drivers who attempt to engage with a pedestrian for the purpose of soliciting prostitution would be charged with disorderly conduct. Upon conviction, such individuals could face a suspension of their driver’s license for a period of 30 days. Repeat convictions could lead to the impoundment of their vehicle for the same duration. 

A public safety hearing was held last week for SB 1219. Those in favor of reinstating loitering penalties made the case that without these sanctions, women will continue to be particularly susceptible to falling victim to sex trafficking.


“SB 357 has had many unintended consequences,” said Opal Singleton, president of anti-trafficking group Million Kids. “One of those is a massive increase in the amount of human trafficking activity taking place in California. This is a serious public safety issue, and we need to address it…Pimps, gangs, and cartels are bringing vanloads of girls in from Phoenix, Las Vegas, and across the USA to conduct commercial sexual services in our communities…In San Diego, L.A., and Oakland, the neighborhoods are no longer safe for children, families, or elderly.”

Unfortunately, Democrats still opposed the bill. Following the hearing, Seyarto said, “Neglecting victims for the sake of not inconveniencing criminals is bad public policy. I am disappointed that the bill did not even get a motion for a vote in committee.”

California streets have transformed into open markets for the exploitation of human beings. The time is ripe for California’s leaders and its communities to reevaluate the direction in which current policies are steering the state. It is incumbent upon those in positions of authority to heed the warnings of law enforcement and advocate for the victims of trafficking. The moral fabric of any state is gauged by how it protects its most vulnerable and upholds justice.


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