In collaboration with The Williams Institute and the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center, CWLC helped bring attention to the discriminatory treatment of female sex workers in California. As part of this effort, we participated in the creation of a report analyzing arrests made in California from 2005-2013 for prostitution and other offenses related to sex work.
The analysis revealed that women, particularly women of color, are arrested at much higher rates when compared with their male counterparts. For instance, although black women made up only 3% of the California population, they accounted for 37% of the prostitution arrests. When gender was cross-referenced with HIV status, the results were even more divergent, showing that women who were HIV-positive were arrested at much higher rates than their male and HIV-negative counterparts.
The report is being made available to the public in conjunction with Governor Jerry Brown’s support of Senate Bill 239 which decriminalizes HIV, a practice that disproportionately punishes women and people of color.