House Bill 66 will make sex workers and sex trafficking survivors charged with working or traveling together register as sex offenders

House Bill 66 will make sex workers and sex trafficking survivors charged with working or traveling together register as sex offenders. It will be on the Senate Floor May 14th! We need your help!

House Bill 66 was just a bad homicide/overdose bill, but just over a week ago the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Matt Claman, turned it into a 40 page criminal justice omnibus bill that does everything from allowing hearsay at grand jury to making people convicted of first and second degree sex trafficking register as sex offenders.

It makes sense for people convicted of sex trafficking in the first degree – most of that statute is what we traditionally think of as sex trafficking. Sex trafficking in the second degree is just things like sex workers traveling together or sharing clients – things that are done even more often by sex trafficking survivors than sex workers.

Here is a story about our member Amber being convicted of sex trafficking in the second degree under the travel part of the statute. More recently, a mother who was a victim of horrifically violent sex trafficking was charged in a similar way.

We need your help!

Email your opposition to all of our Alaska Senators! Ask them to vote no on HB 66 as long as Section 30 (page 24, line 9) includes Sex Trafficking in the Second Degree.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;


Amber Nickerson, a member of CUSP, wrote this about the immunity to report after attending the Brian Steven Smith trial in Anchorage, Alaska Feb. 2024.

I have been a sex worker in Alaska for 20 years. I started in 2004, leaving an abusive marriage because I could support myself and my two kids from my work. I have experienced stigma, shame and criminal charges due to being a sex worker.

My first day attending Brian Steven Smith’s trial was on Valentine’s Day. A fitting day, the five-year anniversary of when Tracy Lynn Day, an Indigenous woman from Juneau and my longtime best friend, became missing. I went to the trial to show support to the family of other women, who Smith was accused of murdering, and to witness the ending of a predator. I wanted to find the courageous woman that came forward and initiated the investigation, a woman the media described as a “convicted prostitute.”  When the media describes a person like this it dehumanizes and promotes stigma, and this makes sex workers easy prey for men like Smith.

Brian Steven Smith’s trial was for the murders of Kathleen Jo Henry and Veronica Abouchuk, two homeless Alaska Native women he picked up for sex. He regularly picked up sex workers. Smith had picked up Valerie Casler, a sex worker, and she stole his phone. She found images and video of the murder of Kathleen Jo Henry, in all of its horror, on that phone. 

Fearful of arrest, she transferred the videos to an SD card and contacted the Anchorage Police Department on Sept. 30, 2019, stating she had found the SD card in the parking lot. She was afraid of being arrested for theft of Smith’s phone and of prostitution. Both misdemeanors. 

She was afraid of being arrested for a moral crime when she had information about a horrific murder. 

The videos of the torture and murder initiated an investigation from APD. Officers recognized Smith’s accent from a prior investigation, when a woman named Alicia Youngblood had contacted the police in 2018 regarding Smith. 

Alicia Youngblood had a brief previous relationship with Smith and had contacted police in 2018 after he had made comments to her about killing a woman. Not much is mentioned regarding that investigation. We were told that Youngblood had testified for the grand jury in this trial, but sadly in July of 2021 she died.

Casler didn’t know that sex workers have immunity from prostitution charges when reporting heinous crimes, thanks to the work and effort of Community United for Safety and Protection addressing the issue and getting the prostitution statute modified in 2016 as part of SB91. Encouraging victims and witnesses to come forward and report violent predators in our communities is important. Letting the public know this is even a viable option is part of stopping serial killers like Brian Steven Smith. 

Clients of sex workers don’t have the same immunity from prostitution charges to report heinous crimes. Clients are first responders in cases of actual sex trafficking and can be the only people a trafficking victim is ever alone with to confide in, but they risk an embarrassing charge and news coverage that could have long-term effects on their careers and families if they report crimes like sex trafficking or murder. This year in House Bill 265, legislators are considering modifying the immunity section of the prostitution statute and they could choose to add clients into its protections. 

If more people knew that sex workers could report crimes without fear of legal repercussions it could answer lingering questions left after Smith’s trial. 

For example, there was unknown female DNA found on the tailgate of Smith’s Ford Ranger. An FBI DNA forensic examiner from Quantico testified that DNA evidence ruled out Veronica Abouchek and Kathleen Jo Henry. Swab samples from Stephanie Bissland, Smith’s wife, were sampled, compared and excluded. The female DNA was possibly from another victim. 

On Feb. 22, 2024, the jury deliberated for close to two hours and came back with their verdict. Smith was found guilty on all 14 counts, including an aggravator that Smith subjected Kathleen Jo Henry to substantial physical torture. Fortunately, Casler’s fear of police and the resulting chain of custody of the videos was only a small hiccup the defense focused on. 

I met up with Valerie Casler the day after. It turns out, Feb. 22 was her birthday. When I told her of the verdict she looked at me and smiled. “The DA said they would call me, I didn’t know!” she laughed, nodding her head.

“I’d do it again, ‘cause those ladies needed to cross over and their souls make it to heaven,” she said. 

Valerie knows she saved lives. She knows she stopped a serial killer from killing more Alaska Native women and sex workers. 

Sentencing is set for July. 


During the recent serial killer trial of Brian Steven Smith disturbing information came out about IAN CALHOUN. We believe he is a DANGER to sex workers and Alaska Native women. Be aware and stay safe!


‘I have something to show you’: Smith texted Anchorage man in hours after hotel room killing, met him at Hillside park – ADN

In one text, the detective said that Calhoun texts Smith: “I was not up, sounds like you were having a lot of fun.”The detective said Smith replied: “I did have fun. Wanted to share.” Alaska Newsource

During the trial, prosecutors showed texts between Calhoun and Smith, which indicate that Smith wanted to show him Kathleen Henry’s body, before he disposed of it along the Seward Highway. Alaska Public Media


Brittany Dunlop and Heather Nobrega (907) 269-6300

What can you do? Save and share the safety alert, call your representative and senator to let them know how you feel about Ian Calhoun not being held accountable. Find your rep/senator here.

Join in and have your voice heard! There are protests happening in Anchorage calling for the arrest and further investigation into Ian Calhoun. Find us on FACEBOOK and stay up to date on future protests.

SIGN THE PETITION! We have over 600 signatures! You do not need to donate, just sign, share, and help our community hold Ian Calhoun accountable.

We are calling on the Anchorage Police Department and the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office to arrest Ian Calhoun immediately for his involvement with convicted murderer Brian Steven Smith. Ian was in communication with the murderer and appears to have had firsthand knowledge of the crimes committed by Brian Steven Smith and he did not report them to authorities.

Feel free to print the flyer below out and share with your community.