This week, we took a question submitted by a reader — who wished to remain anonymous — on the long-standing prostitution problem on Shotwell and Capp streets, and asked our candidates for District Nine supervisor how they would deal with the issue.

What would you do about the persistent and long standing prostitution problem on Shotwell and Capp streets? 

Respuestas en español aquí

Iswari España, Training Officer with the San Francisco Human Services Agency

Having worked for 16 years with youth/families exploited by this phenomenon, I can testify there is little support, resources and advocacy programs to solve this dilemma.

As Supervisor, I will develop comprehensive legislation with a human rights based approach that dedicates necessary funding for those who suffer exploitation and to those who enforce the law. As an immediate solution, I propose permanently assigning SFPD foot patrols to these areas for the safety of our residents and sex workers.

Long term, I will create of a task force that strategically patrols, advocates and refers victims to appropriate programs.  I will build a partnership between service providers, law enforcement, and DA/PD offices to avoid blaming the victims. We should triple fine the “Johns.”

Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos

Unfortunately street based sex work has been a means of survival for women who are homeless or in extreme poverty throughout history.

The current system of periodic police sweeps only push these women to near by streets like Shotwell, Treat, and San Carlos creating a cycle for the residents on these neighborhoods. Arresting these impoverished women means they are often on the street again shortly with fines and criminal records, which only further limits their opportunities for future employment.

As Supervisor, I would focus on getting these women resources like food and shelter, and more importantly support, and economic opportunities so that they can exit the cycle of arrest and sex work.

Melissa San Miguel, education advocate

We cannot tolerate people coming to our neighborhood to buy sex on the street. I grew up on these streets, and we must make sure they are safe for our families and those vulnerable people who engage in sex for survival.

To reduce activity on these blocks, we should focus on responding to the needs of those selling sex and apprehend the buyers. For instance, we can provide the option of social services to anyone engaged in sex for survival so they have a home, education and job opportunities. Any person who is being trafficked should have access to various social services as well. The police should focus on apprehending buyers and human traffickers, not those selling sex.

Joshua Arce, civil rights attorney and Community Liaison for Laborers Local 261

As a general matter, prostitution is often dangerous not just to sex workers or those being prostituted, but often to the surrounding community as well.

It is a person’s right to choose their means of economic self-sufficiency, but the reality is that prostitution remains a crime with woefully insufficient harm reduction measures. Prostitution, in its current form, is often a threat to the health and safety of most of the persons involved, too often involves the exploitation of vulnerable women and is a threat to the public safety of neighbors exposed to the dangers associated with the business and activity.

As Supervisor, I would work to improve economic opportunities and alternatives that provide meaningful skills and job training, which would not only benefit former sex workers but would also make our neighborhoods safer.

Edwin Lindo did not respond to this week’s question.

43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.