San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution
Final Report 1996

VI. Immigration and Prostitution

Because of the threat of deportation or denial of citizenship, immigrants engaged in the sex industry are particularly vulnerable. Not only must they cope with the difficulties encountered by other sex workers such as the threat of arrest and violence, some may also face deportation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service. 70

Although recent international debate has focused much attention on forced trafficking and kidnapping, the abuse and exploitation of immigrants reported to the Task Force consisted of harassment by authorities and financial exploitation of immigrants and refugees including voluntary sex workers. 71

One result of this pressure is that many immigrants engaged in the sex industry are reluctant to report abuses such as rape, robbery and other forms of violence, including illegal curtailment of their freedom of movement. For the same reasons, many such workers choose not to avail themselves of outreach programs on HIV/AIDS prevention and similar services. 72 By decriminalizing prostitution, some of these pressures might be mitigated or abated. (See Appendix D: Laws and Law Enforcement: Resolution for Decriminalization Regarding Immigrant Issues.)

The Task Force recommends that the City lobby the INS to:

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