Two New York senators introduced a bill that would decriminalize sex work and remove prior charges related to prostitution from a sex worker’s record. If passed, New York would become the first state to legalize it in the country.
Sen. Jessica Ramon and Sen. Julia Salazar along with the advocacy group Decrim NY introduced the progressive bill at the New York State Assembly this week. If passed, in New York it would be legal to buy and sell sex under certain circumstances. The bill would regulate where prostitution can take place, in hopes to make sex workers safer.
Under the new legislation, any misdemeanor charges related to prostitution would be removed, however, prostitution near a school would still remain a misdemeanor. The penal code won’t change or outlaw sex trafficking as it relates to minors.
“We want to bring sex workers out of the shadows and ensure that they are protected,” Ramos said. “We will finally make strides against trafficking by empowering sex workers to report violence against them. Sex work is work and everyone has an inherent right to a safe workplace.”
Rebecca Zipkin and Alexi Meyers both members of a nonprofit group that advocate for sex trafficking victims supports protecting sex workers but says decriminalizing it doesn’t make conditions safer.
“Most often it increases sex trafficking,” Zipkin said.”If you legalize, you are condoning brothels to become businesses and pimps to become business managers. That’s what we’ve seen around the world. The argument about safety is false.”