Justice for Shelly Resnick! Stop targeting sex worker activists!
At a time of economic recession, why are sex workers trying to make a living being targeted? And why is taxpayers’ money being used to arrest and prosecute an activist?
The sex worker community, with the support of people from all walks of life, is mobilizing to protest the arrest of a well known activist, Shelly Resnick on November 12, 2008. We question how at a time of economic recession when people are struggling to make ends meet, the City, which is facing huge budget cuts, can justify this persecution of sex workers and this waste of taxpayer’s money. We also question how law enforcement can pursue this case while violent crimes against women and others go unsolved.
We see this arrest as politically motivated. Ms. Resnick who has been outspoken on behalf of the sex worker and transsexual communities, was directly targeted by SF Police Department in a prostitution sting. On November 12, Ms. Resnick was cooking her dinner at home when she became the victim of harassment by police and was cited for solicitation. And on January 7, 2009, the DA’s office filed charges against Ms. Resnick, accusing her of engaging in an actual act of prostitution, implying that she had sex with the police officer, something that even the officer himself does not allege. Why is this case being prosecuted and who invented this claim? Ms. Resnick has done nothing illegal or harmed anyone. She is pleading not guilty.
Proposition K, the 2008 voter initiative for decriminalization, aimed to stop such discriminatory arrests. Ms. Resnick, who campaigned for Yes on Prop K, was targeted the day after Prop K went to the voters.
Such prosecutions instill fear and intimidation among targeted communities, and encourage attacks on sex workers. In addition, they cost taxpayers over $11 million in 2007, according to the City Attorney’s Office. The San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution which documented the costs of enforcing prostitution laws (police, court, jail and attorneys’ time, both Public Defenders and District Attorneys) concluded that the “current prosecutorial response does a great deal of harm and little good”.
The police are attempting to use suggestion of condoms as evidence. Why are condoms being used to entrap, thus inhibiting condom use, when the Public Health department’s policy is to encourage condoms use? In 1994 the District Attorney issued a memo prohibiting “prosecutors from using the fact of condom possession, use, referring to or displaying a condom” in 647b (prostitution) cases. Why is this policy not being applied?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Call, write and/or email the DA’s office demanding that all charges against Ms. Shelly Resnick be dropped, and the case dismissed. Phone number: 415 553-1751; email: DistrictAttorney@sfgov.org.
Call or email the Supervisors demanding that the safety of women and transsexuals be prioritized over the prosecution of prostitution offences. Protest that taxpayers’ money is being spent on harassing and targeting sex workers rather than violent men.
Demand that the District Attorney reinstate their policy not to use condoms as evidence in prostitution related charges.
Bring to their attention the huge number of people who voted for Prop K despite the scaremongering lies put out by the DA and the Mayor.
Let the media know how angry you are at this latest targeting of sex worker activist.
Send us a copy of everything that you do.
Add your name to the list of people demanding justice for Shelly Resnick
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Sex Worker Outreach Project SF & Norcal