ESPLER Project’s Doogan to Speak Today to Legislators

ESPLER Project’s Doogan to Speak Today to Legislators
Rhett Pardon

SACRAMENTO — Maxine Doogan, president of Erotic Services Providers Providers Legal Education and Research Project, or ESPLER Project, today will present at the California State Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety an informational hearing on human trafficking.

The hearing, to start at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) today at the State Capitol Building, will be streamed (audio) here.

Doogan and Jerold Mosley, formerly of the state attorney general’s office, were invited to speak to the legislators.

ESPLER this year has challenged the constitutionality of California’s anti-prostitution laws.

Doogan said she will be making the point that sex work is not the same as sex trafficking. Sex work is when an adult consents to make their living from erotic labor — whether as a stripper, an erotic dancer, a massage provider or a prostitute, she said.

California trafficking legislation, such as Proposition 35, “absurdly conflates sex work and sex trafficking, and criminalizes sex workers as trafficked victims,” she said.

“California trafficking definitions treat sex workers as if they need to be locked up and pathologized,” Doogan said. “These faulty definitions also relies on a broad definition of pimping and pandering which turns our friends, roommates, landlords, domestic partners, and support staff into sex traffickers and sex offenders. It criminalizes consensual sex workers and so far has done very little to apprehend real sex traffickers.

“The ‘war on sex trafficking’ is the new ‘war on drugs. And the results are disastrous for poor women, women of color and trans women.”