The 64th issue of Zi Teng Newsletter
In February, a Senator in California proposed a new bill that prohibited the police from arresting sex workers who reported serious crime like sexual assault, human trafficking, blackmail, kidnapping, robbery. He commented, “We’re all worse off when crime victims do not feel safe coming forward, for fear of arrest. This legislation is about protecting victims and increasing public safety. Too many sex workers are victimized, and the last thing we need is for sex workers to be further victimized by being arrested when they report a crime.”

We express our deep appreciation to the Senator. He not only concerns sex workers’ safety, also understands how their crime information facilitates police’s work. Nevertheless, sex workers in Hong Kong such as sex workers providing massage service, massage workers, migrant sex workers, seldom report to the police even they face serious crime. They prefer bearing the harassment from the perpetuators and criminals than seeking help from police, or simply complain to support groups, as they fear that the police may arrest them. In fact, it is not rare to see how sex workers are transformed from victims to defendants.

Though this bill is not yet passed, when sex workers can report to the police without worry, it helps the police to fight crime more effectively. There will also be more trust and improved relationship between police and sex workers.

Below is the number of complaints about violence from sex workers in the past 4 months.

Police violence/abuse
Free sexual service9 cases
Free massage service before arrested9 cases
Police break into house without warrant35 cases
Arbitrary arrest268 cases
Verbal threat and insult7 cases
Indecent assault2 cases
Obstructing the course of justice2 cases
Force/coax into signing the statement3 cases
Deprived of Basic rights2 cases
Unnecessary use of authority1 case

Client/criminal violence
Intimidation2 cases
Denial of payment2 cases
Candid camera65 cases
Telephone harassment1 case
Robbery2 cases
Condom removed3 cases

Boss/landlord violence
Harassment1 case
Verbal threat1 case

  ▶  The 64th issue of Zi Teng Newsletter