Like so many ballot measures, Proposition 35 is a well-intentioned debacle. Purportedly targeting people who engage in sexual slavery, especially of minors, the definitions are so broad that the law would implicate people who are not remotely engaged in forced sexual conduct, especially adult producers.
Just one example tells almost everything you need to know. “Coercion” is defined as including “abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.” Therefore you could be charged with sex trafficking if you were to say to an independent contractor, “If you do not perform the scene as agreed to in writing, I’ll sue you for every penny you are worth.” This is potentially “threatened abuse of the legal process,” since you could not actually get more than the actual damages incurred.
Another chilling component is the provision which states “Mistake of fact as to age of a victim of human trafficking is not a defense to criminal prosecution under this section.” The law is not limited to inherently illegal sexual conduct, but includes consensual (and otherwise legal) commercial sexual activity. Therefore a minor providing a producer with valid (but fraudulently obtained) driver’s license or passport misrepresenting his or her age could result in the producer being criminally liable in ways the producer is not liable under current Federal and state law.
There are many other horrible parts, and none of it is necessary because of existing laws. That is why the State’s major newspapers are opposing against Prop. 35. I am not saying that if this passes, it will be a disaster for the adult industry. Most likely, it will not be used against us. However, an ill-intentioned prosecutor, such as we have had in the past (remember L.A. County D.A. Bob Philibosian?), could use this law to destroy lives.
Please vote No on Proposition 35, and tell your friends. It is highly likely to pass.
- Jeffrey J. Douglas, A Professional Corporation
1717 Fourth Street, Third Floor
Santa Monica, CA 90401-3319