Group of New York Lawmakers Calls for Legalization of Prostitution

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What to Know

  • A number of New York state politicians are calling for the legalization of prostitution
  • Senators Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Brad Hoylman, as well as Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are working with Decrim NY
  • The group hopes to introduce a bill to rewrite the state's penal code to decriminalize sex trades in the state of New York

A number of New York state lawmakers are calling for the legalization of prostitution.

Senators Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar and Brad Hoylman, as well as Assemblyman Richard Gottfried are working with Decrim NY to introduce a bill to rewrite the state’s penal code to decriminalize sex trades in the state of New York.

Decrim NY is a coalition to “decriminalize, decarcerate and destigmatize the sex trade in New York City and state.”

In a Daily News op-ed, Ramos and Salazar urged for the end of criminalization of sex work while Gottfried and Hoylman spoke out about the Decrim NY in a series of tweets where they expressed their support.

"We aim to repeal statutes that criminalize consensual sexual exchange between adults and create a system that erases prostitution records for sex workers and sex trafficking survivors so they can move on with their lives," the opinion piece reads in part.

Ramos represents Corona, Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights and Salazar represents Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg in the state Senate.

“Criminalization does not address why people trade sex, because most people trade sex out of economic need: to pay bills, make rent, and put food on the table. People often turn to sex work after a life event such as a major health-care bill leaves them economically vulnerable. LGBTQ, black and brown, immigrant and disabled communities engage in sex work at higher rates because they are locked out of jobs in the formal economy,” according to the opinion piece.

Ramos and Salazar say that 9 out of 10 people arrested in sex-work-related massage parlor raids are immigrants, with most being undocumented Asians.

LGBTQ youth, who often run away from home seeking acceptance, trade sex at 7 to 8 times the rate of other youth in New York City, Ramos and Salazar say.

Nevada is right now the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal in some counties.

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