Debra J. Saunders

The SAGE Project's Allen Wilson fears that the measure may prevail because the city has no shortage of rootless residents who "will vote for this because they think it's cool." For them, San Francisco is "one big sandbox."

Let me be clear. I don't want city cops wasting their time prosecuting workers at the discreet bordello that hires healthy adult prostitutes who get regular medical checkups. I would rather see law enforcement focus on serious crimes.

But there is nothing broad-minded about looking the other way when 14-year-old girls and boys sell themselves on the street and massage parlors are staffed by women who are being held against their will. These are not consenting adults.

The measure takes a tone that suggests it will protect women by demanding that San Francisco law enforcement prosecute "coercion, extortion, battery, rape and violent crimes, regardless of the victim's status as a sex worker."

Of course, state law already requires that. More to the point, battery, rape, assault and even murder are crimes that befall prostitutes because they work in an inherently dangerous field bankrolled largely by men who like to demean women and girls.

Violence and pain are the inevitable outcome for those steeped in this dehumanizing way of life. Young women wooed into the life quickly age to the point where they cannot net the high-incomes their pimps demand. They become addicted to drugs. They learn to commit new crimes. Until the day they find they are disposable.

Or as Wilson noted, "We treat animals better."

So do not tell Jasmine that if San Francisco decriminalizes prostitution, it will do so because the city cares about prostitutes. This measure really is a gift, not so much to so-called sex workers, as to pimps, pedophiles and human traffickers. As Jasmine sees it, if the ballot initiative passes, "That's basically saying the city does not care."

Debra J. Saunders

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