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Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan doesn’t see a big difference between sex work and sex trafficking. She’s said that women involved in prostitution rarely choose that work voluntarily and are often being coerced.
Genevieve Jones-Wright, who’s running against Stephan for district attorney, disagrees. Jones-Wright has said Stephan is conflating sex trafficking with sex work, the latter of which can be voluntary.
On this week’s podcast, I. India Thusi, an assistant professor at California Western School of Law, joins hosts Scott Lewis, Sara Libby and Andrew Keatts to make the case for why lumping voluntary sex work with involuntary sex trafficking can be a dangerous and costly practice.
Thusi said conflating the two leads to imprecise data and overly broad initiatives that divert resources from human trafficking victims while keeping voluntary sex workers from seeking safe working conditions and accessing other programs and resources.
She also said law enforcement officials should take individuals’ personal stories into account.
“It’s not very black and white in terms of what people’s experiences are,” Thusi said. “By taking away their ability to actually say what their story was and what led them to the work and respecting their voices, you’re actually depriving them from resources and remedies that would actually be beneficial to them.”
Also on the podcast, Escondido Mayor Sam Abed’s told President Donald Trump this week that local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration agents is crucial for public safety and that the “narrative that sanctuary city will allow more immigrants to report crime is fake news.” Lewis, Libby and Keatts point to current and former local law enforcement leaders and an immigration expert who disagree with Abed’s assessment.
Hero of the Week
The San Diego City Council is the hero this week. It’s a pre-emptive award for the City Council, which has set July 16 as the date to tackle short-term vacation rentals. Surely the Council would never set a date to decide the issue and then fail to deliver. Right?
Goat of the Week
San Diego County released a report about how it handled San Diego’s hepatitis A crisis. The outbreak killed 20 people, and yet the report describes “areas of success as well as areas for improvement.”