A First Hand Look at the San Francisco Task Force Report on Prostitution

Carol Leigh, A First Hand Look at the San Francisco Task Force Report on Prostitution, 10 Hastings Women’s L. R. 59 (1999)

No abstract available. Introduction:

There has been much debate about prostitution law reform over the last few decades. Although historically there have been reformist efforts and movements concerning prostitution, the prostitutes’ rights movement, as we know it today, began organizing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The difference between the contemporary prostitutes’ movement and previous efforts is that prostitutes themselves have, in large part, defined the current movement. Prostitute activists have defined prostitutes’ legal status in specific ways since the beginning of the prostitutes’ rights movement. The current movement includes a recognition of the rights of prostitutes to autonomy and self-regulation.

One recent effort at reforming prostitution was the formation of the San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution (Task Force). As a ‘working prostitute,’ I represented San Francisco’s Commission on The Status of Women on this Task Force and I coordinated the writing of its Final Report. I was fortunate to be part of the two-year process that led to a recommendation of decriminalization. This article is a brief look at how I have come to define the terms commonly used in the debate surrounding prostitution, a look at how the Task Force came into existence and excerpts from its final report.

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