Oakland’s New Threat To Sex Workers

Nov 12, 2014
Legal
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On October 21, the Oakland City Council unanimously voted to expand an existing law that allows the city to evict private property tenants who have become a “nuisance” to their communities. The original “nuisance eviction ordinance,” which the council adopted in 2004, permits city-led evictions of both residential and commercial tenants who have been involved in illegal drug activities or violence on their properties.

The revised policy, proposed by City Attorney Barbara Parker, added a number of other “nuisance activities” to the law — the most controversial being “pimping, prostitution, pandering, and solicitation.” The council approved the additions with little fanfare or debate, and sex worker rights advocates only learned about the ordinance after it was too late to oppose its passage. Now, sex workers, civil rights activists, and tenant advocacy groups are arguing that the addition of prostitution to this law is deeply problematic and could carry a number of troubling consequences for Oakland renters.

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