Sex Worker Advocates Grade Democratic Candidates on Prostitution Policy Positions

Decriminalize Sex Work
www.DecriminalizeSex.Work
Contact J. Leigh Brantly, Research & Project Manager
jleigh@dswork.org

NEW YORK, NEW YORK
February 6, 2020

Sex Worker Advocates Grade Democratic Candidates on Prostitution Policy Positions

Decriminalize Sex Work (DSW), the largest organization in the country focused solely on decriminalizing sex work, released its presidential candidate “report card” on Thursday, February 6, 2020. The organization is encouraging primary voters to use the issue as a litmus test for candidates who claim they want to reduce prison populations, support human rights, and promote health and safety within our communities.

Kaytlin Bailey, director of communications for DSW, explains, “Every candidate claims to want to reduce violence and exploitation in the sex industry. We graded the candidates based on whether or not the policies they support will help us achieve those goals. Voters should know how candidates think about policing the oldest profession.”

All three frontrunners, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren, scored a “C” from the sex worker rights group. Michael Bloomberg received the only outright “F” because of his degrading public remarks and punitive policies. Data from the New York Division of Justice Services (DCJS) showed that arrest rates for prostitution were 30% higher during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor. Demographic data reveals that the spike in arrest rates almost exclusively targeted black Americans.

Melissa Broudo, general council for DSW, spoke to campaigns while preparing this report. “We were thrilled that many candidates were open to this conversation. In my nearly 20 years advocating for decriminalization, this is the first time this issue is part of the national conversation.”

Data for Progress released a poll on January 30, 2020, showing that an “outright majority of all voters support decriminalizing sex work.”

To see the report card for the entire field of Democratic presidential candidates, please visit https://decriminalizesex.work/issues-advocacy/2020-presidential-campaign.

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Sex Workers Win Major Decision in Federal Court

Decriminalize Sex Work
www.DecriminalizeSex.Work
Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications
kaytlin@dswork.org

NEW YORK, NEW YORK
January 27, 2020

Sex Workers Win Major Decision in Federal Court

Sex workers and their allies have won an important victory in their ongoing constitutional challenge to FOSTA/SESTA, a federal law that is having a destructive impact on the health and safety of sex workers and their communities.

“This is the most important case pending in federal court,” said Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for DSW. “Sex workers are feeling the brunt of this law now, but so are harm reduction advocates, massage therapists, and human rights organizations.”

At issue is the FOSTA/SESTA law, enacted in 2018, which imposes severe criminal penalties for the operators of web sites that allow discussions of prostitution, which caused many dating web sites to close.  As a result, sex workers who had been using websites to schedule and screen their clients have since resorted to more dangerous tactics, such as soliciting on the street or relying on third parties such as pimps.

“Allowing sex workers to schedule and screen their clients online improves the health and safety of our communities,” said Melissa Broudo, DSW’s staff attorney who coordinated DSW’s amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs.

Studies show that when Craigslist Erotic Services allowed adults to negotiate consensual sex with each other, the female homicide rate dropped by 17%. When sex work was decriminalized in Rhode Island from 2003 to 2009, reported rapes dropped by 30% and gonorrhea by 40%.

“The evidence couldn’t be more clear,” said Broudo. “Allowing adult consensual sex workers and their clients to connect online makes the work safer.”

On Friday, January 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs’ case can proceed to trial, where a federal judge will decide whether FOSTA/SESTA interferes with the constitutional rights of website operators and their users.

“Sex workers have been waiting for our day in court for over 100 years,” said Bailey.

Eight Women Charged With Prostitution After “Rescue Operation”

Decriminalize Sex Work
www.DecriminalizeSex.Work

Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications
kaytlin@dswork.org

NEW YORK, NY
March 7, 2019

Eight Women Charged With Prostitution After “Rescue Operation”

Only one woman arrested during the much acclaimed “rescue operation” in South Florida last week is willing to cooperate with police. So instead of being rescued, eight women are now being charged with prostitution and related crimes.

The police have spent the last week bragging about their role in breaking up a “multi billion dollar international sex trafficking ring.” They had a splashy press conference and they named and shamed a lot of men who paid for hand jobs over the course of their investigation.

After months of surveillance, there is no evidence of trafficking and no one is being charged with those crimes. Instead, eight women were handcuffed and humiliated; their assets have been seized; and they have all been charged with prostitution. Decriminalize Sex Work Director of Communications Kaytlin Bailey says, “The police have the audacity to call these bullying tactics a rescue operation.”

Multiple agencies in South Florida have spent the better part of a year investigating three massage parlors and determined that on average, once every three days a licensed, legally working masseur helps her client achieve ejaculation. Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars went toward this discovery.

There were no complaints from the spa’s neighbors or passersby. The only complaint seemed to be that there weren’t enough hand jobs happening on the premises. More than half of the Yelp reviews expressed disappointment that they had wanted sexual contact but did not receive it.  Some clients did receive sexual contact. And some of that contact was with undercover police officers who felt it necessary to have their balls touched before arresting these “sex slaves.”

On November 26, 2017, the NYPD tried to “rescue” Yang Song in Flushing, Queens. She threw herself out of a third story window and fell to her death. She landed at the foot of the undercover police officer who moments before was trying to entrap her. Bailey continues, “These officers are not heroes, they’re bullies. They literally kill the women they claim to be rescuing.”

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