Create REAL Solutions to End Human Trafficking. Not Discrimination.
This petition had 881 supporters
HELP US PROTECT IMMIGRANTS, WOMEN AND FEMMES OF COLOR, WORKER'S AND THE MOST VULNERABLE OF PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES IN HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY. SIGN AND SHARE TO STAND AGAINST THIS ANTI-WORKER ANTI-IMMIGRANT ORDINANCE PROPOSAL.
Recently, despite our outcries and numerous modes of research, the City of Tampa resurrected an archaic anti-LGBT bathhouse ordinance under the guise of stopping human trafficking. Tragically, the ordinance they enacted does nothing to stop human trafficking and does everything to create discrimination.
Human trafficking is undoubtedly deplorable and we must work together to find solutions to resolve it. However, Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman has become inspired to attempt to enact a similar bathhouse ordinance in unincorporated Hillsborough County. We must work together to stop this ordinance from extending to the greater county.
The ordinance targets massage parlors intentionally and most definitely "Asian spas". This in itself is inherently stereotyping and racist and places an extra undue hardship on minority owned businesses.
Actual victims of human trafficking are often undocumented immigrants. With the recent announcement of Hillsborough County Sheriff's, among others, decision to collaborate with Immigration Customs Enforcement, it is evident that this ordinance is not actually designed to stop human trafficking but is rather designed to push undocumented or possibly undocumented persons into the for-profit prison system.
Additionally, even for documented individuals within the massage parlors, this ordinance will put them at risk of being over-policed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Even if they are a victim of human trafficking, they are likely to face arrest. A study by the National Survivor Network found that 90% of all human trafficking victims faced an arrest at some point in their time as a victim, with some facing over 10 to 20 arrests in the lifetime. 70% of those arrested stated they could not get the convictions dropped despite being victims. This is particularly problematic because convictions last forever, causing folks who are impacted to lose the ability to find housing, employment, education, federal benefits and other resources. As a result, ironically, such convictions often confine people back into the trafficking trades and unable to survive "above ground".
Individual opinion on the morality of sex work are not available for debate in dire times like these. With immigrants and people of color constantly under attack, we must not allow our county to become a beacon of even more harm. Instead, we must band together and offer solutions that work to actually HELP human trafficking victims and not harm anybody.
We propose completely abolishing this bathhouse ordinance and instead enacting:
- Enactment of full immunity--any person in a massage parlor, bathhouse, private home or other establishment who dials 9-1-1 or the human trafficking hotline to report: sexual violence against them or another person or the suspicion of human trafficking against them or another, shall be immune from arrest or prosecution. This includes immunity from deportation or immigration detainment.
- Any and all inspections shall be completed by the Department of Health and not the police at any time--as would be true with any other establishment.
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