On Monday April 24, HB 68, Governor Dunleavy’s sex trafficking bill, was moved out of the House Judiciary Committee. If passed, HB 68 will make ordinary prostitution a class B felony for sex workers and sex trafficking survivors.
House Bill 68 initially criminalized common safety measures taken by sex workers and sex trafficking survivors alike as sex trafficking in the first degree, an unclassified felony. Some of the safety measures the bill would criminalize are communicating about clients or sharing work spaces. On March 30th, 2023, the House Judiciary Committee heard public testimony about the shamefulness of criminalizing sex workers and sex trafficking survivors in this way (listen starting a couple minutes in here). Deputy Attorney General John Skidmore clarified that he absolutely would charge two sex workers engaging in common safety practices with an unclassified felony under the bill (listen starting at 1hr 56 minutes here).
The House Judiciary Committee later adopted a committee substitute for HB 68 Section 11, creating the crime of felony prostitution for having a place of prostitution or organizing with other workers. The 59 sections of the bill have been referred to the House Finance Committee to address the five million dollar fiscal note which will be used to fund additional prostitution sting operations.
“If passed, this will be the first time since Alaska’s sodomy law was repealed in 1980 that Alaskan legislators openly felonize consensual, private, adult sexual conduct”, said Terra Burns. “This would be in direct violation of our US Constitutional Fourth Amendment and Alaska State Constitution privacy rights. We oppose HB68”
The Community United for Safety and Protection is a group of current and former sex workers, sex trafficking survivors, and our allies, advocating for safety and protection for everyone in Alaska’s sex industries.