What Robert Kraft Did Should Not Be Illegal

Decriminalize Sex Work
www.DecriminalizeSex.Work
Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications
kaytlin@dswork.org  (919) 649-7725 (cell)

NEW YORK, NY
February 22, 2019

What Robert Kraft Did Should Not Be Illegal

In response to the high-profile arrest of Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, for getting a “happy ending” massage from a spa in south Florida that’s well known for providing such services, we believe it is time to reevaluate the way we police prostitution. The Juniper police are trying to convince the press, and the public, that Mr. Kraft and the 200 other people being charged in relation to this sting operation are human traffickers, but law enforcement has provided no evidence that any minors — or victims of force, fraud, or coercion — were involved.

Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications for Decriminalize Sex Work, said, “If no minors or coercion were involved, no one should have been arrested, including Mr. Kraft.” Far from bullying or coercing an unwilling massage therapist into committing sex acts against their will, Mr. Kraft and the other patrons limited their “solicitations” to a well known “rub and tug” establishment.

In addition to facing up to 60 days in jail, Mr. Kraft and the other men arrested will be forced to attend and pay for classes colloquially called “John Schools,” many of which are religiously affiliated and conflate all forms of adult consensual sex work with the rare and terrible crime of human trafficking.

The police in Palm Beach, Florida spent months and thousands of taxpayer dollars surveilling this spa. They staged a bomb threat to evacuate the building in order to install hidden cameras, and they spent hundreds of police hours spying on unwitting people. Currently, Palm Beach has over 8,500 unsolved rape cases. Bailey continued, “Instead of arresting men who pay women money for sex acts, police should be investigating the men who think they can just take it.”

Alex Andrews, cofounder of SWOP Behind Bars, which is based in Florida, said, “All of the so-called victims in this case were taken away in handcuffs. If the police were serious about combating human trafficking, they’d be investigating hotels, restaurants, and the agricultural industry. Arresting adults for consensual sex helps no one.”

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Prostitution Advocacy Group Launches National Campaign To Decriminalize Sex Work

Decriminalize Sex Work
www.DecriminalizeSex.Work

Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications
kaytlin@dswork.org (919) 649-7725 (cell)
NEW YORK, NY
***EMBARGOED UNTIL 5:00 p.m. ET on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3***

Prostitution Advocacy Group Launches National Campaign to Decriminalize Sex Work

In response to the new federal law that resulted in widespread censorship of websites that include sexual content, a new national organization has formed to repeal this law and decriminalize sex work nationwide.

The mission of Decriminalize Sex Work — a new national organization with offices in Austin, New York City, and Washington, D.C. — is “to end the prohibition of prostitution in the United States.” The organization’s national strategy is to inform the public about the harms caused by prohibition, with a focus on lobbying state governments to remove penalties for adult prostitution and all other forms of consensual sex work if conducted in private.

The organization’s ideal state legislation removes all penalties for consensual, adult sex work if conducted in private residences, hotel rooms, or licensed business locations known as brothels. Nevada, which is the only state to allow any form of legal prostitution, permits paid sex to occur only in brothels that are located in rural counties — not Las Vegas or Reno hotel rooms — which is why Nevada has the highest arrest rate among the 50 states.

“Dozens of allied organizations are already doing great work advocating for decriminalization,” said Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for Decriminalize Sex Work. “What makes our organization different is that Donald Trump’s new law inspired a California philanthropist to donate sufficient seed money to pay for a full-time staff and lobbying firms even before our organization’s public launch today.”

The objectionable federal law is known as SESTA-FOSTA. On the Senate side, the bill’s name was “Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act,” and on the House side the bill was called “Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.” The two bills were combined into one and enacted into law by Congress and President Trump on April 11, 2018.

“Since the federal government banned adult matchmaking on the web, many sex workers have left their homes and hit the streets as a way of advertising their services,” said Bailey. “BackPage and other transparent websites often cooperated with law enforcement to find minors and other trafficking victims, in addition to providing a mutual review system to protect people from predators who pose as clients and escorts.”

DSW’s team includes a criminal-defense lawyer who has advocated for and defended sex workers and survivors of trafficking for 12 years; a social worker who has worked with humantrafficking victims for 20 years; a former sex worker (Kaytlin Bailey); three activists who come from the marijuana-legalization movement; and a pair of bipartisan lobbying firms in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

“The new federal prohibition brought together a critical mass of money and activists that is now snowballing and will soon cause an avalanche of legal reforms across the country,” said Bailey.

DSW cited numerous reasons for how society would benefit from making adult, consensual prostitution legal instead of criminal:

   * The vast majority of paid sexual activities involve consenting adults. Removing these adults from the criminal system will free up law enforcement to focus on the minority of sex crimes that involve minors, force, and fraud, which includes human trafficking.

   * By allowing sex workers to advertise their adult services discreetly on the web and elsewhere, sex workers will no longer need to “advertise” themselves on street corners, which will be a boon to community groups that complain about public activity but are unconcerned about private sex.

* If prostitution is no longer a crime, sex workers and their colleagues will be liberated to report human traffickers and other predators to police without fear of themselves being arrested.

“Back in the 1920s, it was the prohibition of alcohol — not the use of alcohol — that created public violence that threatened the safety of alcohol users and the community at large,” said Bailey. “Today, the prohibition of sex work — not the simple act of paid sex — actually increases the power of human traffickers, causes harm to minors, creates arrest records for prostitutes and survivors of trafficking who are otherwise law-abiding adults, and threatens the community’s health at large.”

The sex-workers rights movement benefits from the expansive, international research on this topic. Just last month, researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published research showing that sex workers suffering under repressive policing are three times more likely to experience violence as those who live in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is no longer a crime. This study bolsters the recommendations and official policies of the World Health Organization, Amnesty International, and the ACLU, all of which support ending criminalization.

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