Red Light Abatement Act

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Red Light Abatement Act
Seal of California.svg
California State Legislation
Status Passed
Signed into law April 7, 1913[1]
Governor Hiram Johnson

The Red Light Abatement Act is a vice law which was intended to curtail or eliminate prostitution. The Act was passed by the California legislature and signed by Governor Hiram Johnson in 1913, and became effective on 3 November 1914. Under the Act, brothels around the state were eventually shut down.

The law was opposed by some California residents who gathered signatures for a veto referendum, 53% of voters voted yes and the new act became law.[2]

Under the act owners of the buildings where prostitution takes place are fined by the city.[citation needed] This led many property owners to be more vigilant of the activity which took place in their buildings, as well as to institute discriminatory renting practices, such as not allowing single women to rent a first floor apartment. In some places, women could not rent an apartment at all.[citation needed] As a result, prostitution moved to the streets, making the practice more dangerous.[citation needed]

After many years, most red light districts ceased to exist under this act. San Francisco was one of the last to disappear.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "History Department - College of Liberal & Creative Arts". Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "California Nuisance Abatement, Proposition 4 (1914". Retrieved 27 June 2016.