Proposition K, San Francisco, November 2008:

The Results

You probably heard that Prop K didn't win, but we are very proud that 140,173 people (updated 12/1/08) voted for us and we secured 41% of the votes.

In a crucial way we are winning, because we clearly demonstrate that sex workers are in the forefront of the political process. Our coalition has been very strong!

In 2004 Measure Q in Berkeley secured 36% of the vote, so as you see we are ascending. It is clear that in the long run sex workers rights and participation is rising. Decriminalization is happening!

There was an amazing response from sex workers, sex worker groups and many allies including labor and human rights advocates around the country, contributing, emailing, fundraising, phone calls, and rooting for us! We had wonderful volunteers from all quarters, and we made many new friends who will be supporting us in the long run.

Thank you to all our donors and supporters. This meant so much to all of us! You kept our spirits up and allowed us to mount this campaign.

The elections for Board of Supervisors went in a liberal direction so that portends good support for new plans.



For more info, to volunteer or endorse, email:

Click here to view Proposition K Flyers

Progressive Civic Leaders Endorse Proposition K

Op-Ed, San Francisco Chronicle
Decriminalize Prostitution: Vote Yes on Prop K

San Francisco voters have an opportunity on election day to reduce violence against women and improve the health of sex workers and their clients. Voting yes on Proposition K to decriminalize prostitution - to prohibit the city from arresting prostitutes - will make it easier for sex workers to report violence to the police and improve public health. The decriminalization of prostitution was the main recommendation of the citywide San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution more than 10 years ago. A recent UCSF study found that 1 out of 7 sex workers in San Francisco were threatened with arrest by police officers unless they had sex with them, and 1 out of 5 reported that police officers paid them for sex. Clearly, the policing of sex work is problematic. Spending city resources on education and health outreach to sex workers and linking them to the array of excellent services in our city would be a much more humane and effective way to help sex workers. In addition, those arrests do little: nine cases went to trial last year, but there were no convictions. (more)

Prop K Basics

Proposition K as it will appear in the San Francisco Voters' Pamphlet 2008

Health and Legal Professionals Support Proposition K

End Jail Abuse of Prostitutes; Voluntary, Not Mandatory Social Services

As a San Francisco native who has been providing social services and outreach to indoor and street-based sex workers of all genders and ages for over 13 years I know that regardless of how sex workers got to their current situation being criminalized is a social injustice with serious public health consequences. Prostitutes are victims of abuses including rape, robbery, exploitation and poverty. NONE of this gets better when prostitutes or trafficked victims are criminalized and sent to jail. (more)

California STD Controllers’ Association: Support Community health and HIV Prevention

National Lawyers Guild: Current laws/enforcement make it harder to stop sex trafficking and child prostitution

USPROStitutes Collective: Save women’s lives, stop enforcement of damaging prostitution laws!

Government Response

Public Defender's Analysis

Media Reports

NPR: Associated Press-San Francisco Weighs Decriminalizing Prostitution
"It will allow workers to organize for our rights and for our safety," said Patricia West (more)

Decriminalize Prostitution-Vote Yes on K
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, September 8, 2008

Sex Work is Not a Crime
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, September 10, 2008

Women's Rights: Will Sex Workers Find Dignity with Prop K?
Jen Nedeau, October 27, 2008
"...a first step in condoning sexual empowerment and the definition of sexuality beyond the confines of heteronormative puritanical values.(more)

ABC NEWS Website: Story on Prop K

Woodhull Freedom Foundation:  Affirming Sexual Freedom as a Fundamental Human Right

Sex Worker Rights Are Human Rights
WFF Newsletter, October 2008 by Dr. Carol Queen

Should Prostitution Be Legalized?
Alternet: Sex and Relationships

Saturday, July 30, 2008

Ballot measure to decriminalize prostitution divides liberal San Francisco

Los Angeles Times
September 15, 2008

BeyondChron on Progressives and Prop K
August 20 - 21, 2008

How Phony Poll by Sunny Hostin of CNN Manipulated Vote!

Opponents of Prop K Use Lies and Fear Tactics to Sway Voters


National Public Radio: Interviews Prop K Advocates Advocates on Associated Press TV  

Barbara Walters Argues for Prop k on The View (3 minutes in)

excerpt from The View (forward 3 min) 10/22/08
Barbara Walters: You talk about freedom of choice. It's a very sad choice to have to make... They are not going to spend the time and the energy of the police trying to arrest them, going through court... I'd never been to Holland and there's a whole street of the Red Light District and the so called ladies of the evening although I think it's in the daytime too, whatever, they're smiling and they are talking and it a big tourist attraction and its regulated....
Sherri Shepherd : I think you are forgetting the fact that these women who are smiling or joking with you, there's someone who they are giving their money to
Barbara Walters: Or maybe it's just themselves, but it's their choice.


---------------Sadie Lune says: Vote Yes on Prop K

MyFox 25, Boston Discusses Prop K: Entertaining chatter about Prop K

San Francisco Bay Guardian Interviews with Prop K Proponents

Leigh on The O'Reilly Factor 7-23-08

Cindy Sheehan Speaks For San Francisco Decrim Initiative

Prop K Proponent, Maxine Doogan and others in KFOG Interviews

Prop K: General Info

Proposition K: Text

Proponents Argument

YesOnPropK Calendar: Fundraisers and Projects to Support Prop K

Resources/Reference Documents


California State Bar Association Endorses Resolution for Decriminalization of Prostitution

APLE Hawaii Prostitution Law Reform Reference

San Francisco Task Force on Prostituton Final Report

Action Alerts

US PROStitutes: The Facts About Prop K

ICE Raids in San Francisco: Stop the Deportation and Scapegoating of Sex Workers 10/23/08

SWAP Fees, racism, criminalization: Petition to support local women

Trafficking Victims Protection Act: Victory in Senate

Health, Safety and Human Rights

Trafficking and Anti-Violence

Prop K To Suppress Trafficking and Prevent Child Prostitution

Decriminalization Supports Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Behind The Moral Panic

GAO Critiques Bush Administration Anti-trafficking Policies

Report on San Francisco Johns' School

"Existing laws should be used to address violence against sex workers and trafficked persons without criminalizing sex workers" Sex Worker Project at Urban Justice, New York

HIV and Sexual Health

Breaking news: Secretary General of the United Nations Calls For Sex Workers Rights to Combat AIDS/HIV

Mexico AIDS Conference 2008: Sex Workers, HIV and Human Rights

British Medical Journal: Protection of sex workers-Decriminalisation could restore public health priorities and human rights

Research for Sex Work: Violence Against Sex Workers and HIV prevention

Social Services and Harm Reduction

British Psychological Society: No Mandatory Treatment


Religious Repugnance Obscures Need for Sex Work Decriminalization by Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock

Casting Stones: Prostitution and Liberation in Asia and the United States

Soros' Open Society:The right of all sex workers to live free and healthy lives.

FIRST(Canada): Feminists Support Sex Worker Rights

New Zealand Decriminalization Materials

New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act 2003

New Zealand Decriminalization "It's not like we've done away with all the problems. But when it was illegal, the laws were always there to compound whatever problems a person already had."

5 Year Review of New Zealand Prostitution Reform Act:Act helps health and safety of sex workers, report says

New Zealand Prostitution Law Review Committee



Join SWOP USA email List for Updates


San Francisco Democratic Party

Harvey Milk Democratic Club

National Lawyers Guild

California STD Controllers' Association

Coalition For Labor Union Women (CLUW)

Young Workers United

San Francisco Bay Guardian

San Francisco Bay View: National Black Newspaper

Richmond District Democratic Club

HIV Democratic Club

Trafficking Policy Research Project

San Francisco Green Party

PODER, People Organzing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights

La Raza Centro Legal

San Francisco 4 Democracy

The Gray Panthers

San Francisco Tenants Union

Libertarian Party of San Francisco and Libertarian Party of California

San Francisco Bike Messengers Association

Bay Area Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World

Sex Worker Outreach Project

Axis of Love Women's Collective

The Lusty Lady Theater

Movimiento Por Una Amnistia Incondicional

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Affordable Homeownership Alliance

Community Resources Action Project


Margo St. James, founder COYOTE

Robyn Few, founder SWOP-USA

Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, Associate Clincal Professor of Medicine, AIDS and Infectious Diseases, UCSF*, President of the California STD Controllers' Association

Marjan Wijers (LL.M, MA) former policy officer and project leader of the Dutch Foundation Against Trafficking in Women, former president of the Experts Group on Trafficking in Human Beings, established by the European Commission

Priscilla Alexander, former consultant on sex work and HIV at the World Health Organization*

Naomi Akers, Executive Director, St. James Infirmary*

Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi, Jake McGoldrick, Chris Daly, Tom Ammiano

State Senator Carole Migden

Assemblyman Mark Leno

Renee Saucedo, La Raza Centro Legal

Gary Virginia, Past Member, SF Human Rights Commission LGBT Advisory Committee*

Rev. Paul Fairley, Metropolitan Community Church*

Rev. Lea Brown, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church*

Cindy Sheehan for Congress

Linda Richardson, SF Human Rights Commission*, Steering Committee member Southeast Neighborhood Jobs Initiative Coalition*, Chair of the Land Use, Planning and Transportation Committee of the Bayview Hunters Point*

Rachel West, US Prostitutes Collective

Mike Denny, 2003 candidate for SF Mayor

Dennis Peron, author of Proposition 215

Meshá Mongé Irizarry Director, Idriss Stelley Action & Resource Center, ISARC*;Director, Education Not Incarceration, SF Chapter, ENI_S*;Director, Black&Brown Equitable Drug Policies Coalition, BEDPC*

Dylan Vade, Esq. co-founder, Transgender Law Center*

Greg Shaw, past president, Harvey Milk Club*

Dr. Joseph Kramer, PhD.

Starchild, former candidate San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Carol Leigh, AKA Scarlot Harlot

Mark Sanchez, Eric Quesada, and David Campos for Dist 9

Michael Bornstein, Former Executive Director, San Francisco Democratic Party

Laura Spanjian, Rafael Mandelman, Arlo Hale Smith, Democratic County Central Committee

Howard Grayson, Emily Drennen, Lou Fischer, Democratic County Central Committee Candidates

Phil Berg, Libertarian candidate for Congress (District 8)

Kevin Peterson, Libertarian candidate for Congress (District 12)

Eric Garris,*

Susan Stryker, Filmmaker, Historian and Transgender Rights Activist

Mira Ingram of Marijuana Offenses Oversight Committee*

Carol Queen, sex educator, co-founder of Center for Sex and Culture*

Avaren Ipsen, PhD., lecturer on Critical Theory, University of California at Berkeley, focus on Sexuality, Religion and Class, Author of 'Sex Working and The Bible,' London, Equinox Press, 2008.

Veronica Monet, sex educator and author

L. Neil Smith, Novelist

ZITENG, Hong Kong sex workers rights organization

Michael Aldrich, former Training Coordinator, Califormnia AIDS Intervention Training Center*

Espinola Jackson, former candidate for Supervisor (District 10)

Catherine Cusic, Vice-President, Harvey Milk Club PAC

Tamara Ching, Health Educator and Transgender Rights Advocate

Armando Quintana, Sex Worker Legal Aid, Los Angeles

Michelle Aldrich, former President, AIDS Prevention Action Network*

Jill Brenneman, Survivor of Human Trafficking, Sex Worker Rights Activist Program Host Talk Radio XXBN

*Title for identification purposes only. Does not imply endorsement or policy of the named agency or institution. ©2008