FBI agent arrests sex trafficking suspect
An FBI agent arrests a sex trafficking suspect. Image from FBI video

California Senate Bill 357 by Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco was intended to decriminalize loitering, but it will effectively legalize street prostitution and should be vetoed by the Governor.  

The legislation has already passed the Legislature and is waiting for Wiener to forward on to Gavin Newsom for his signature or veto. If signed, this “criminals first” bill will change the very fabric of our families’ lives and negatively impact our communities and children’s future. 

Loitering in a public place for the purpose of street prostitution has long been a misdemeanor. SB 357 makes this legal, and law enforcement would not be able to intervene, further limiting their ability to track down violent predators and protect trafficking victims. 

This dangerous legislation would also authorize those convicted of a violation with the intent to commit prostitution to petition the court for the dismissal and sealing of their case. 

With increased trafficking due to the ongoing pandemic, overworked Border Patrol, and San Diego’s status as the busiest border crossing and second largest human trafficking corridor, this bill will only encourage pimps, organized crime, and drug cartels, bringing more sex workers to California. 

Law enforcement will not be allowed to intervene or prevent sex workers from soliciting on the street, promoting sex for sale and exposing children to illicit sex acts. This will further increase sex trafficking, along with the use of narcotics, and lead to more crime throughout our streets. 

Nearly two million unauthorized immigrants crossed the U.S. border in 2021, with the largest increase among unaccompanied children, more than likely being trafficked for sex or labor, and will continue to increase if changes are not made.

What is even more concerning is those who are already convicted of prostitution or related offenses can have their convictions overturned and be released early from incarceration back into our communities. This means even more criminals, perpetrators and predators will be on the streets — further exploiting, controlling and manipulating victims into the sex trade business, especially vulnerable children. 

Often times, victims are coerced and groomed by pimps, cartels, or gang members and drugged, raped, beaten and “enslaved.” Many are psychologically traumatized, mentally and emotionally distressed, physically abused and become too frightened to leave. SB 357 will only make it harder for law enforcement to help these victims.

Please educate yourself and your community and stand up to make a difference.  Work with local lawmakers to oppose bills such as SB 357. Make sure your voice will be heard and write to the Governor, asking him to veto the bill.

If SB 357 is signed, it will negatively impact your neighborhood, local businesses, schools, churches and most importantly our children and future generations. Thousands of lives will be exploited, and crime will continue to increase in our communities. Help fight dangerous legislation such as this.

Laine Lansing is a member of the advisory board of Saved In America, a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers who are former law enforcement officers and Navy SEALs who are licensed and insured private investigators. If you or someone you know is a victim of sex trafficking, please call the Human Trafficking Hotline at(888) 373-3788