New York Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Legalize Sex Work

June 12, 2019  |  

State Capitol Building in Albany

Source: picture alliance / Getty

On Monday New York state lawmakers made the first step to produce a bill that would decriminalize sex work, setting the stage for New York to become the first state to legalize prostitution if passed.

The bill titled the Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act, was introduced by Senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar. Ramos and Salazar worked in conjunction with advocacy group Decrim NY, who introduced it to the New York State Assembly, according to Pix 11. If passed it would legal to both sell and buy sex under specific circumstances.

“We want to bring sex workers out of the shadows and ensure that they are protected,” Ramos said in a news conference. “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.”

One aspect of the bill which makes it unique is that under the legislation, prior arrests and criminal records in relation to sex work offenses would be eliminated.

However, it should be noted that sex trafficking would not change the law relating to the illegal practice of sex trafficking, especially in relation to minors.

Monday’s bill exhibits progressive cross effort between New York’s state and local municipalities when it comes to sex work.

During a conversation in April, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez voiced support to decriminalize sex work. Salazar, who was also present during that meeting voiced the perverse affects prosecuting sex work has on disenfranchised women, specifically in New York city.

“Across the city of New York, 94 percent of those arrested for loitering for the purposes of prostitution are black women, including cis and trans women,” Salazar explained. “That’s a startling number and speaks to the racial profiling and gender based discrimination as well that goes into these arrests.”

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