Prostitution in California

While prostitution is illegal in California, there have been some progressive, but ultimately unsuccessful, state bills, lawsuits, and local ballot initiatives in past years.

SB 1322, authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and signed into law September 2016, made the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution misdemeanors inapplicable to children younger than 18. It allows law enforcement to take sexually-exploited children into temporary custody if leaving them unattended would pose an immediate threat to their health or safety.

SB 1129, authored by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), repeals mandatory minimum sentences for specified prostitution offenses. It was signed into law in September 2016.

AB2714, authored by former Assembly member Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), would make the prohibitions on prostitution and related offenses applicable to a person under 18 years of age. By expanding the application of those crimes to those persons, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill has not been passed as of yet.

Angel’s Initiative: Local initiative to decriminalize prostitution in Berkeley in 2003. Initiative was defeated by more than a 2-to-1 margin but triggered critical and thoughtful debate about decriminalization.

Initiative K: Local initiative to decriminalize prostitution in San Francisco. This initiative failed in November 2008 but garnered 41% of the vote and stimulated critical and thoughtful debate on the issue.

Additional Information,_Measure_K_(November_2008)

Last updated: 2020-02-15