California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that will end arrests made for loitering for prostitution in the state. Although the bill does not legalize prostitution, supporters believe it will reduce the frequency of police harassment of sex workers.

“To be clear, this bill does not legalize prostitution,” Newsom said in a signature message. “It simply repeals provisions of the law that have led to disproportionate harassment of women,” while adding that it also disproportionately affects the transgender community as well as black and Latino women in particular.

David McNew/Getty Images

In addition, anyone who has been convicted or is currently serving a sentence will be able to ask a court to throw out and seal the record of the conviction.

“For too long, California law has been used to profile, harass and arrest transgender and gender non-conforming people simply for existing in public spaces,” said Tony Hoang, executive director of advocacy group LGTBQ Equality. California, praising the repeal, according to the AP.

The legislation mirrors a similar effort made in New York last year to address discrimination and violence against sex workers.

The ACLU argued that workers who fear arrest for vagrancy “are more vulnerable to exploitation and violence, and face greater barriers to accessing safe housing and legal employment”. .

[Via]