Local Sex Workers Launch Petition

Friday January 16, 2004

Come November Berkeley voters could be asked to start the ball rolling on the legalization of prostitution in California. 

On Thursday a Berkeley-based sex worker advocacy group filed papers to place a non-binding resolution on the city’s November ballot calling on the state legislature to repeal laws against selling sex. 

Supporters have 180 days to collect 3,000 signatures for the resolution to go before Berkeley voters. 

The Berkeley initiative is part of a statewide drive by the Sex Workers Outreach Project to drum up popular support for an overhaul for the state’s prostitution laws, which they say unfairly target women, instead of pimps and johns. 

“We know we won’t get Sacramento’s attention unless we show we have the support of the communities,” said SWOP Director Robyn Few. 

Similar ballot drives are planned for Oakland and Los Angeles. Few also expected the resolution to pass the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

—Matthew Artz