In San Francisco, prostitutes may soon be allowed to freely work the streets.
Next month, voters will decide on a measure that prevents authorities from arresting anyone who sells sex.
The law, called Proposition K, would not technically legalize prostitution, since state law still prohibits it.
However, it does give prostitutes freedom to work the streets without fear of legal consequences.
Proponents argue the measure would save the city $11 million.
"It will allow workers to organize for our rights and for our safety," said 22 year-old Patricia West who's been selling sex through ads placed on the Internet for roughly a year.
Carol Leigh, co-founder of the Bay Area Sex Workers Advocacy Network and a longstanding advocate for prostitutes' rights, also supports the measure.
"We feel that repressive policies don't help trafficking victims, and that human rights-based approaches, including decriminalization, are actually more effective," Leigh said.
But San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris isn't buying it, arguing that Proposition K makes the faulty assumption that prostitution is a victimless crime.
"The crime of prostitution does not exist by itself," Harris said. "Along with it come pimps, johns and other crimes that really impact the safety of neighborhoods."
San Francisco policeman Al Pardini added, "The proponents usually paint a fairly rosy picture of two consenting adults and a monetary exchange at the end."
He said, "They don't factor in the people that are being exploited and people that are being controlled, the ones manipulated both physically and chemically."
Source: CBN News, The Associated Press