New York State legislators have introduced a bill that would decriminalize sex work and repeal statutes that prohibit the buying and selling of sex between adults.
Advocacy group DecrimNY.org is the driving force behind the bill, sponsored by state senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar. Five other senators also introduced a companion bill into the state Assembly.
The bill modifies laws around facilities that are used as places of prostitution, according to one report , and would legalize the buying and selling of sex under certain circumstances.
Ramos and Salazar stress their bill protects LGBTQ youth, living on the street, who have been found to trade sex at higher rates than of other youths, and undocumented immigrants, who make up the largest group arrested in massage parlor raids.
Every worker in New York and beyond has an inherent right to a safe workplace environment no matter what work they do. We are here to affirm sex work is work, said Ramos during a news conference.
A group of New York state lawmakers on Monday announced what could be a landmark effort to roll back laws against prostitution, an effort that could lead to legalization of consensual sex work in New York.
The criminalization of sex work disproportionately impacts LGBTQI+ NYers, immigrants, and people of color, wrote State Senator Brad Hoylman, chair the New York Senate Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation. It perpetuates stigma,
and it furthers a devastating cycle of incarceration. We need change.
Senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salaza are also backing the proposed package of legislation.
The move in New York comes soon after a Rhode Island lawmaker introduced a resolution to study decriminalizing sex work in that state, and about two months after the mayor of New Orleans , Louisiana, called for increased legal protection for sex
The bills set to be introduced by the New York lawmakers would repeal a state statute that makes loitering for the purposes of prostitution a criminal offense. Under another provision of the proposed new laws, any conviction for prostitution
deemed to be the result of sex trafficking would be immediately voided.