San Francisco Task Force on Prostitution
Final Report 1996

Prostitution Task Force
Sex Workers' Issues Testimony Meeting-Gloria Lockett

I can talk about alot but what I would like to talk about is why I am on this Task Force and why I think there should be some alternative to taking people to jail. First, I'm here representing myself as a black woman, as a woman who worked as a prostitute for 18 years, 10 years spent on the streets and the other 8 was in massage parlors and in hotels, motels and bars. I worked in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alaska, Arizona, Las Vegas, Hollywood and San Jose. These are the places I worked the streets. I worked other places but the streets was the only time that I went to jail with the exception of two times. So let me talk a little about the times I went to jail and why I think it's a waste of taxpayer's money, but before I get started, first I'd like to say that I am offended that most of the male task force members are not here, and also would like at least some parts of this to be read to the other Task Force members. If I had known that most people were not going to show up, I would not have said that we should do this outside of the regular Task Force meeting. So, I am hoping that that goes as part of the record.

I have been arrested for pimping. I have been arrested for prostitution. I have been arrested for 647 a, b and c. I have been arrested for being in a house of prostitution and around a house of prostitution. I have been arrested for disturbing the peace. For a total of forty different times. With the exception of two times that were inside.

One time when I was arrested for pimping, a girlfriend of mine had talked to a guy who I knew was a police. I told her I knew the guy was a policeman. She came back to me and asked if I was sure. I told her I was sure. She went around the corner with the guy. They wound up busting her anyway. They wound up coming back a few weeks later and arrested me for pimping because I told her that he was a police man. Before I was arrested for pimping again, I was arrested in San Francisco at Leavenworth and Bush. I was at a bar. I walked in the bar. I was sitting down. I had a drink. The police came in and said, you, you and you. You are going to jail. I said, for what? They said, soliciting. They said, you've been in her fifteen minutes and there are ten guys here. I am sure you talked to at least four of them. Arrested. Solicitation. Of course they dropped that case. Of course they dropped the pimp case, but in the meanwhile I got charged all the bail money and I never got any bail money back. The stuff about getting bail money back. I never got any bail money back.

Many times when I have worked on the streets, San Francisco and all the other cities I worked in are pretty much the same. They harass the women on the street and they love it, and you can tell the police, why are you bothering me? Why don't you go down around the corner and bother somebody else. I'm not doing anything. You know I'm not doing anything. And they say yeah, I'd rather bother you than somebody else, because I know nothing's going to happen to me.

Our tax dollars are being spent paying police to sit on corners wand wasting their time with prostitutes because they know nothing's going to happen to them. It is a waste of money.

One of the things that continues to annoy me, at the time when I was going to jail and at the time now as being the Executive Director of CAL PEP, there have been times when I go inside jails, now, and the women that are in jail are 90% people of color. Now, yes, white people do go to jail, but for some reason they get out alot faster than the people of color. The people that they pick on are minority people. The people who are most of the time in the jails are African and Latino's. Some Asians, but mostly African and Latinos and a few white people. It's offensive and who the police picks on continuously is the people who are easiest to arrest. Who are the people who are easiest to arrest? The people on the streets. You can get them easily.

One time I was arrested the police called me on the telephone, I was advertising in a newspaper. I went down to the corner where I met him. After meeting him I followed him to my apartment. After I got to my apartment and we were sitting in front of my apartment and I didn't like the way he was talking, after about 15 minutes about 6 other police came up. It took 8 policeman three hours to arrest me. Excuse me. And when they finally got me to the jail, I bailed out and I was at home. It took 8 policeman three hours to arrest me and charge me with 647b. What a waste of time and energy.

One of the problems I had as a prostitute working the streets is I couldn't work at home. Talking about abandoned and leaving your kids. I have two children and I raised five. I could never be at home because if I was at home I would got to jail, so I would have to move around. That's why I worked in so many different places. And then also when I was working the streets, I had to work by myself, because if I worked with other women, it was a conspiracy. A conspiracy is two to three years in jail, whereas a misdemeanor, 647b is a misdemeanor. When you see the police you want to be by yourself because if you get arrested you don't want to be arrested with other people because you might got to jail for 2 or 3 years.

Working as the Executive Director of CAL PEP, I have done outreach inside of massage parlors, but the women didn't feel comfortable talking to me because I didn't speak their language. They do get picked on more. And it's a shame the way the treat people who are not white. There are so many other things I want to say in this short time.

Career prostitutes, this is what I call myself when I was on the streets. I wasn't addicted to drugs. Then there are crack using prostitutes. These women are hard to reach for us because alot of times they don't identify as being a prostitute. Then there are prostitutes using IV drugs who also have different needs.

Usually the career prostitutes have the most problems with police. The IV drug using prostitutes, they try to use them as snitches. "They're not gonna bother us. They're gonna be here. You people, you're gonna make all the money, you know. We're worried about you." And then the others we deal with on the streets do survival sex, nothing like career prostitution. They work at prostitution only for survival. It's because that's what they do to survive, and often times what they do is that one person will turn a date one night, and the other the next night and one will get a room, one food, and the other get clothes. And they don't do it for a long amount of time, but still, the police still harass them because they are on the streets. So they people that go to jail the most are usually the career prostitutes and the ones doing survival sex and I have real problems with that and usually the women that are of color and usually the people that are easy to get.

  • Continue...
  • Table of Contents