A new Democrat bill that would decriminalize sex work in New York — while still holding pimps and buyers accountable — is set to be introduced in the state Senate this week.
Democrat bill will legalize sex work
Democrat Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who is slated to announce the bill Monday morning, created the legislation with the assistance of sex trade survivors and advocates who want to make sure workers are given help instead of a jail cell.
“Finally we are recognizing that the sex trade is not a safe place for our community and we are recognizing that surviving is not enough,” Cristian Eduardo, a sex and labor trafficking survivor who helped create the bill, told The Post.
“This bill was created by listening and believing in survivors, that is what the amazing part of this is. In other spaces, a lot of times survivors of the sex trade, survivors of human trafficking, survivors of prostitution, they are not listened to … We need a rite of change in the criminal justice system and how to achieve that in a policy way is by listening to survivors.”
The bill is inspired by the “equality model,” which aims to decriminalize people in prostitution while still keeping buying sex, sex trafficking and brothel owning illegal. That’s in contrast to complete decriminalization, which would green-light all aspects of the sex trade.
Prostitution might soon be legal in New York
Krueger, who’s been working on the issue for over a year, said the vast majority of people who enter the trade are young people of color who sell their bodies out of coercion or economic desperation, not because they want to.
“I think the real issue is we don’t want to have throwaway people and so many of the young people I’ve spoken to feel like they’ve been thrown away and no one cares if they spend their life in a form of slavery,” Krueger said.
“We want to make sure that instead of criminal penalties and jail, we are providing health care, mental health care, services to get them out of the life and into better options for themselves … generations of young people’s lives are being destroyed when we could be helping them.”