Sex Work and Trafficking Policy Impact Committee - April 16, 2018 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
April 16, 2018 - 11:00am

Sex Work and Trafficking Policy Impact Committee Meeting

April 16, 2018 11am – 12:30 pm

Department on the Status of Women

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 240, San Francisco, CA


Gena Castro Rodriguez, District Attorney Victim Services Division

Saerom Choi, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach

Cristy Dietrich, Newcomer’s Connect

Elise Hansell, Department on the Status of Women

Jessica Ho, Supervisor Katy Tang

Minouche Kandel, Department on the Status of Women

Carol Leigh, BAYSWAN

Alix Lutnick, RTI International

Dee Michel, St. James Infirmary

Iris Zhu, Newcomer Connect


  1. Introductions/Check In


  1. Identifying Committee Co-Chairs

Saerom Choi is a Co-Chair of the Committee. Ideally she would have another co-chair to work with. This item will remain on agenda. 


  1. Prioritizing Safety for Sex Workers Policy Outreach/Training Update
    1. Minouche provided an update from SFPD regarding an incident of this new policy being successfully implemented in Mission District, where a sex worker who had been stabbed by a client was reluctant to share what had happened to her until she was shown a copy of the policy.
    2. Training for Police Department: discussion of best ways to address uncomfortable situations when working with Police.  There is an opportunity to work with Video Production Unit of SFPD – would require a script and a memo up the chain of command.
    3. Outreach on Policy to Community Members:
      1. Existing efforts:
        1. Aria Sa’id and Sneh Rao presented about the policy at a recent event they co-sponsored with El/La Para Trans Latinas.
        2. St. James has been distributing a flyer about the policy at various events and has shared it with their networks.
      2. Future Outreach:
        1. The group decided it would be helpful to design a pocket card to distribute to sex workers, and a poster that agencies could display. It would be helpful to include the city seal to make it clear this was official city policy.
        2. There will be an outreach event for the sex worker community on June 13th  in the later afternoon at the Main Library, Latino/Hispanic room. Need to confirm speakers.


  1. Police Report Research Update
    1. alix presented on emerging findings from her research: approximately 960 reports have been coded into a database and cleaned for statistical analysis. These reports represent a random sample of prostitution and human trafficking cases. Preliminary findings include: a decrease in citing or booking individuals for selling sex and an increase in citations for purchasers of sex. In the first set of reports, 2009-2010, arrests were primarily Latino men, and the second set of reports, 2014 – 2015, arrestees were primarily white men, which seems to indicate a shift towards more online operations. There was no change in citing or booking of those considered 3rd parties (exploiters/traffickers).
    2. alix also found major differences between SVU and District Stations when examining the accuracy in identifying human trafficking cases in police reports. SVU reports were more likely to misidentify sex workers as human trafficking victims.
    3. Next steps: alix will explore indicators of arrest (if certain factors make it more likely for someone to be cited or booked) as well as the ways in which these cases came to the attention of law enforcement. Finally, alix is attempting to connect these incident reports to prosecutorial outcomes.


  1. FOSTA/SESTA and SB 1204
    1. SB1204 – the current law defines causing someone to be engaged in prostitution through an element of coercion (“promises, threats, violence, or by any device or scheme”). SB1204 would remove this language, making the crime more broadly defined to include anyone who “encourages” someone to engage in prostitution. For example, under SB1204, clients could be charged with pandering.
    2. FOSTA/SESTA impacts: Negatively affects sexual freedom and expression. Advertising online is much safer than screening on the streets; affects ability of sex workers to communicate with peers. Increase in street-based sex work. Bad Date List at St. James could be jeopardized.
    3. Task Force should be on record re: these types of legislation and concerns.  Group agreed to develop a position paper to present to Task Force to try to get Task Force on record as opposed to certain tactics.


  1. Prioritize Committee Issues for 2018
  • Human Trafficking Report: There are several items related to the human trafficking report that can wait until late fall, when the next report is closer to being issued:
    • Giving input Human Trafficking Report;
    • Media Training/talking points for persons to more accurately reflect the content of the report;
    • Examples of problems in the past;
    • Centralize youth organizations - There is opportunity for crossover of committees of Mayor’s Task Force (i.e. bring draft of position paper to youth committee/ youth fellows)
  • Immigrant concerns: The outreach cards developed on the Prioritizing Safety policy will be translated.  Committee feels it is important to recognize the impacts of SESTA/FOSTA compounds with anti-immigrant rhetoric on immigrant communities.
  • Vacatur outreach (vacate convictions for prostitution related to trafficking). APILO has pro bono attorneys who are interested on testing the Vacatur laws.  We can include information on the vacatur options at our educational event in June.