California’s Prop 35 & What it Means to Escorts

On September 4, 2012, in Op-Ed, by adultbizlaw

prop35 text 300x190 Californias Prop 35 & What it Means to EscortsAs you might be aware there is a ballot measure this fall in Los Angeles County for voters to decide upon – Ballot Measure B – the condom initiative. What you might be unaware of is another ballot measure that could also severely impact porn and the people that work within it. Proposition 35 is a state-wide ballot initiative that will re-write and grossly broaden police power over pimping, pandering and prostitution, basically turning all of it into “human-trafficking.”

What you have to be aware of is that if you work as an escort, even if you are independent and it is your choice, you are subject to this law. And you more importantly, you and those in your life that receive any money from you can have your assets seized and sold at auction and the money given to groups that are fighting human-trafficking. Basically, the government has decided to treat prostitution like the war on drugs. If you make money as an escort, California law enforcement will be able to seize your house, your car, your bank accounts as profits from an illegal activity.  If you care for and provide for an elderly parent(s) with the money you make as an escort the government will also be able to seize their home, their car and their bank account. And you and those around you might have to register as “sex-offenders” under Proposition 35.

Be aware of this poorly written law and vote against it and tell those you know to vote against it.

Here are some bullet points from Maxine Doogan, who heads the Erotic Service Providers Union in San Francisco ( ). You can also follow @OpposeProp35 on Twitter for more information ( ).

  • Prop 35 relies on junk science to lie to voters about human trafficking cases so they can benefit from 100% of the new fines imposes.
  • Prop 35 relies on the failed polices of police engaging in sexual contact in prostitution sting operations to identify human trafficked victims will force the sex industry further underground, making it harder for law enforcement to find and identify actual human trafficking victims.
  • Prop 35 relies on the failed polices of mandating cities and counties to spend millions of dollars to implement and train police officers to enforce this law that doesn’t provide basic protections such as access to equal protection for those who are working in the sex industry or undocumented.
  • Prop 35 could result in children and domestic partners of prostitutes, who are supported financially from a prostitutes’ labor, to be convicted of human trafficking and forced to register on the California sex registry as sex offenders.
  •  Prop 35 is overbroad – it could result in the arrest of and prosecution of teenagers for human trafficking who date, consume alcohol or a controlled substance, and engage in sexual activity an unintended consequence.
  • Prop 35 is overbroad – it will give police too much discretion and will likely result in further police abuse of homosexuals and other disfavored minority groups.
  • Prop 35 relies on the failed polices of further criminalization of consensual private adult sexual activity.
  • Prop 35 will cost the state of California substantial funds to support Proponent’s chosen anti-prostitution trafficking non-profit groups with no oversight or accountability.
  • Prop 35 will cost the state of California untold sums to defend it in court challenges and will be struck down as unconstitutional.
  • Prop 35 penalties which include registering all internet user names infringes upon protected free speech activities such as the right to engage in political dialogue anonymously on the internet and will cost voters money when it is challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional.
  • Prop 35 unconstitutionally limits a defendant’s right to assert a defense at trial – by preventing a defense attorney from questioning an alleged victim about voluntary work in the sex industry and will cost voters money when it is challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional.
  • Prop 35 is overbroad – it makes duplicating and selling obscene materials depicting children a form of human trafficking  and will cost voters money when it is challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional.
  • Prop 35 is overbroad – it would require individuals who engage in any kind of extortion to register with the CA sex registry as sex offenders even though the particular crime may not have been a sexual offense and will cost voters money when it is challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional.
  • Prop 35 is unconstitutionally vague – a law must be clearly written so as to give adequate notice regarding what is the illegal activity and will cost voters money when it is challenged in court and ruled unconstitutional.

If you would like additional information please feel free to download this informational packet authored by Norma Jean Almodovar. Ms. Almodovar is the Executive Director of COYOTE ( Cast Off Your Tired Old Ethics ). COYOTE is a sex worker activist organization. Almodovar worked as a traffic control police officer for ten years. In 1982, she quit her job with the Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Police Department and began working as a call girl. In 1984, she attempted to recruit a former coworker from the LAPD to begin working as a prostitute. Her actions resulted in an arrest and conviction for pandering. In 1986, Almodovar ran for lieutenant governor in the California gubernatorial election, as a Libertarian. Almodovar’s autobiography was published by Simon & Schuster in 1993.


17 Responses to California’s Prop 35 & What it Means to Escorts

  1. [...] Here’s a great link that summarizes these problems and more. [...]

  2. Nailah says:

    So is this a law that’s only trying to be passed in California??

  3. GFE Desires says:

    As always, appreciate your insightful and informative posts Michael.

  4. mike says:

    This is some serious bs that they’re trying to pass. These politicians don’t care about the people. It’s all about their own ridiculous personal and religious beliefs.

  5. ESPLERP says:

    [...] California’s Prop 35 & What it Means to Escorts [...]

  6. HATETHEBS says:


  7. Ti Zen says:

    This is a sham of a legislation created by ambitious law makers. Who profits from this? Law enforcement, legal defense, judges, city courts, politicians, and conservatives. They can’t tax this trade so they want to prosecute and persecute it.

    Who is behind this? Please provide that information.

  8. adultbizlaw says:

    Here is who has donated to Prop 35…

    Chris Kelly has give $1.8 million. He’s a former executive from Facebook.

  9. I am having a hard time understanding the big issue with Prop 35. Obviously am against any law restricting in private consenting adults… but in all the zillions of anti articles frustrating find out why this is so bad a prop based on what the proposed law says not what people seem to think it says. I must be missing something!

    From Prop 35:
    Sec 4 Amends Section 1161 of Evidence Code includes any commercial sex act connected with being a victim of human trafficking as defined in Sec 236.1 of CA penal code.

    So we go to Sec 236.1:
    (a) Any person who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another to obtain forced labor or services, is guilty of human trafficking….

    How does that apply to a typical consenting adult escort?

    Lots of stuff if minor … fine…..

    “When the offense involves force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person.”

    How apply to consenting adult sexworker???

    Lets examine definitions in Prop 35:
    “Coercion” includes any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process; debt bondage; or providing and facilitating the possession of any controlled substance to a person with the intent to impair the person’s judgment.

    “Deprivation or violation of the personal liberty of another” includes substantial and sustained restriction of another’s liberty accomplished through force, fear, fraud, deceit, coercion, violence, duress, menace, or threat of unlawful injury to the victim or to another person, under circumstances where the person receiving or apprehending the threat reasonably believes that it is likely that the person making the threat would carry it out.

    “Duress” includes a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to cause a reasonable person to acquiesce in or perform an act which he or she would otherwise not have submitted to or performed; a direct or implied threat to destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim; or knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or immigration document of the victim.

    How does this apply to a consenting adult sexworker?

    I agree go after those that are coerced, forced, etc… and leave the consenting adult sexworker’s alone. From all I read I don’t see the big deal. I do agree there are plenty of existing laws like kidnapping etc so not needed but plays on the huge promotion that all sexwork has to be from weak minded forced people as the anti’s argument no women in her right mind would choose sexwork. Some groups are trying to brainwash all sexworker’s into thinking they are victims for their own agenda’s getting grants and funding using the excuse of “child trafficking” which is rare. Yes go after child trafficking – not consenting adults – legal and no big deal in almost all the rest of the world.

    Yet maybe we should support Prop 35 and focus on true abuse cases, minors and leave alone consenting adults?

    Dave in Phoenix
    Promoting Intimacy and Positive Sexuality with honesty and integrity

    • Dave, the problem is that Prop 35, like all “Trojan horse” laws, is impossibly broad and vague; it defines prostitution so vaguely almost any woman could be considered to be engaging in it (it’s that “something of value” that does the trick), then defines “coercion” so broadly even peer pressure or gratitude could qualify. I did a column on it: which extensively quotes a much longer article that may really help you to understand why so many people, including some anti-trafficking groups and even bona fide survivors of coerced prostitution, are against it.

      • The link even talks about redefining pimp, when there is not even a definition of pimp in the proposed law.

        Actually the Prop is great compared to the Federal Trafficking Act I have written extensively about. The Fed Act (not yet reauthorized) includes non forced/non coerced just regular consenting adults in the definition of trafficking. If its forced, then it is “extreme trafficking.”

        Prop 35 seems to make it clear it has to be forced (yes various ways could be argued could be used but clearly the intent as could be a jury issue is FORCED, against will. This is great again vs the Federal Act.

        I agree prostitution/commercial sex is vague but that is the existing state law as in most states. It could apply to dating, even marriage unless as in some states married couples excluded.

        The vagueness I would think could be a good defense argument so its good its vague in that means it could be attacked. But find very few cases where a good vagueness argument raised, other than the recent win in a NY Court.

        I have written about this issue related specifically to AZ law but similar in most states. We have arrests being made for example for having GFE in ads since is an offer for illegal sex including from a jury trial.

        The issue is key in the current Phoenix Goddess Temple case where 37 are indicted for felonies and now about 100 cases mostly felony related in Maricopa Superior Court I am monitoring – one key is paying for an hour that may happen to include a “release”. Is sex being paid for or time? Law is vague!

        A companion website lists GFE etc so the charge is offer of prostitution in AZ, when escort asks for $200 for a one hour companion session.

        Offer for hour companion session is not illegal but as a red herring it draws a defense lawyer off the real issue, “prostitution” and what the money paid for was an one hour session. BUT there was a hand job from massage gal or some form of sex from a companion included. Yes, there was a hand job/sex included but the law was not broken because none of the money paid for the hand job. No sexual conduct was paid for with a fee?

        There is confusion of what is sex for money related to sex for time. U.S. Supreme Court said that all laws have to be written in language that can be understood by people on ordinary intelligence. Do you know what sex for money vs money for time means?. I don’t. I know what money for sexual conduct means – that is very clear and defined the law clearly in the AZ law. There is no such definition for GFE or a dozen other buzz words which might mean this or mean that.

        The United States Supreme Court held that a law can not be so vague that a person of ordinary intelligence can not figure out what is innocent activity and what is illegal. Chicago v. Morales, Docket: 97-1121, Citation: 527 U.S. 41 (1999) and quotes from Justice John Paul Stevens for the plurality. This case was about a Chicago loitering ordinance but applies to many other cases. The only issue on certiorari was whether the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague, either on its face or as applied, in violation of “the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

        There are zillions of other cases pointed out in article “Clarity in Criminal Statutes: The Void-for- Vagueness Doctrine” at

        While US law is different from Canadian of course, the issue of sex for money is similar. This is the Canada solution for nude-reverse-release body rubs I loved so much, not falling under the 1800′s bawdy house law against incalls.

        The “release” is just expected as part of a session, never discussed, no separate fee, just done and no legal issue. Unfortunately we do not have the same strong freedoms as under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. And of course prostitution itself always legal in Canada (as most of the world), just not in an incall at least before the latest win in Ontario Appeals court striking down the bawdy house law. Canada has now appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada as a Constitutional Charter of Rights issue trying to reverse the Ontario Court that ruled bawdy houses (incalls) ARE legal under Canadian law.

        These views are purely editorial and do not reflect the specific legal strategy of any case. These are in NO way indicating the intention or defense of those indicted. All criminal charges are alleged and discussions of charges does not imply any guilt. I am not a lawyer; any legal issues should be addressed by a competent attorney.

  10. Hey all, sorry I don’ have time to read everything, let along reply. Our reading of this law is that expands who is a trafficker to include all of the California penal code 266 and the 311 down there in the fine print and too it does specifically name us, the 647(b) and broadens the definition as maggi stated above.
    Too this commentary goes into detail about the definitions.

  11. [...] Service Providers Union in San Francisco, provided a series of statements (via here) in opposition to Prop 35. Here are some that I found especially compelling: – Prop 35 relies on [...]

  12. [...] Attorney Fattorosi, by the way, also has weighed in on Proposition 35 on his blog, [...]

  13. [...] Here’s a great link that summarizes these problems and more. [...]

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