A sex workers organization has filed a lawsuit in California claiming the laws against prostitution violate their constitutional rights. News10/KXTV
A lawsuit is challenging the way California thinks of prostitution. And if a judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, it could mean the world’s oldest profession would be legalized.
A Bay Area group of sex workers wants to make prostitution legal. In March, they sued four Bay Area district attorneys and filed a lawsuit in federal court to strike down the state’s current law banning prostitution.
They say their constitutional rights are being violated by laws banning what they do.
“Our lawsuit seeks to get protection for right to have sexual privacy and right to associate with each other,” Maxine Doogan with the ESPLER Project said.
ESPLER is short for Erotic Service Provider Legal Education and Research Project.
“We should not be liable or labeled as criminal. We are adults. We know what we are doing. We should have our constitutional rights in this matter upheld,” Doogan said.
But groups like Courage House and Bridget’s Dream have worked hard to get underage victims of sex trafficking off the streets and into a safer environment.
“Most kids are running from something, but they don’t know they they’re running into the arms of a a predator,” Bridget’s Dream’s Leah Albright said in 2013.
“We consider sex trafficking to be essentially like modern-day slavery,” California Deputy Attorney General Maggie Krell said.
Victims groups and law enforcement worry that legalizing prostitution could lead to more young victims. They say it’s a risk not worth taking.