American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union “supports the decriminalization of prostitution and additionally opposes state regulation of prostitution.
The ACLU also condemns the abuse of vagrancy or loitering laws or licensing or regulatory schemes to harass and arrest those who may be engaged in solicitation for prostitution. While there are both male and female prostitutes, laws against prostitution most frequently refer to — or are applied to — women. Despite the statutory stress on female prostitution, the ACLU’s policy is applicable to prostitutes of both sexes.
Such laws have traditionally represented one of the most direct forms of discrimination against women. The woman who engages in prostitution is punished criminally and stigmatized socially while her male customer, either by the explicit design of the statute or through a pattern of discriminatory enforcement is left unscathed. Prostitution laws are also a violation of the right of individual privacy because they impose penal sanctions for the private sexual conduct of consenting adults.
Whether a person chooses to engage in sexual activity for purposes of recreation, or in exchange for something of value, is a matter of individual choice, not for governmental interference. Police use of entrapment techniques to enforce laws against this essentially private activity is reprehensible. Similarly, the use of loitering and vagrancy laws to punish prostitutes for their status, or to make arrests on the basis of reputation and appearance, is contrary to civilized notions of due process of law.
Since the ACLU policy is that prostitution should not be made criminal, solicitation for prostitution is entitled to the protection of the First Amendment. The ACLU reaffirms its policy favoring removal of criminal penalties for prostitution and in support of total sexual freedom among consenting adults in private.”
— ACLU, April 30, 2007
Amnesty International “recommends the decriminalization of consensual sex work, including those laws that prohibit associated activities — such as bans on buying, solicitation and general organization of sex work. This is based on evidence that these laws often make sex workers less safe and provide impunity for abusers with sex workers often too scared of being penalized to report crime to the police. Laws on sex work should focus on protecting people from exploitation and abuse, rather than trying to ban all sex work and penalize sex workers.
The policy reinforces Amnesty International’s position that forced labour, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking are abhorrent human rights abuses requiring concerted action and which, under international law, must be criminalized in every country.”
— Amnesty International, May 24, 2016
Democratic Socialists of America
Julia Salazar of the Democratic Socialists of America was recently elected to the New York state senate representing North Brooklyn. Decriminalization was listed under her Community Safety and Criminal Justice Reform plank. Read more of her policy beliefs here.
Freedom Network USA
Freedom Network USA (FNUSA) “strongly and adamantly believes that ALL workers should be safe in their workplaces and protected against force, fraud, or coercion. It is important to understand that people in the sex trades have a myriad of experiences and may identify as sex trafficking survivors, sex workers, or both at different times in their lives. The criminal records that are now so common for people trading sex create barriers to safe housing, education, employment, public benefits, immigration status, and parenting. Decriminalizing sex work is a necessary pre-condition to decreasing abuse and exploitation within the sex trades, including labor and sex trafficking. To learn more about how decriminalization can protect trafficking survivors, please read our full position paper.”
Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) came out in support of decrim legislation in D.C. locally, stating that “the criminalization of sex work can exacerbate the epidemic of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color.” Read more here.
The Libertarian Party added new text to the platform at its 2018 national convention: In Plank 1.7 on Crime & Justice: “… we favor the repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims, such as gambling, the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes, and consensual transactions involving sexual services.”
Additionally, a whole plank on the topic of sex work: 2.10 Sex Work: “The Libertarian Party supports the decriminalization of prostitution. We assert the right of consenting adults to provide sexual services to clients for compensation, and the right of clients to purchase sexual services from consenting sex workers.”
UNAIDS urged world leaders to decriminalize sex work in a May 13, 2020, statement about COVID-19 in prisons (May 13, 2020).
Woodhull Freedom Foundation
“In order to exercise our fundamental right to sexual freedom, we must have bodily autonomy: the ability to decide how we use our bodies. This includes deciding with whom we want to have sex, and whether or not we want to exchange anything for sex. We also have the fundamental human right to choose our work, and in combination with the rights to personal autonomy and sexual freedom, this means that sex work should not be criminalized. Restricting, punishing, and criminalizing sex work is, at its core, about controlling our bodies and reducing our ability to participate in labor of our choosing, to access pleasure, and to express ourselves sexually. Such restrictions erode our freedom to make choices about our bodies, lives, and livelihoods.” Read more here.
World Health Organization
Through modeling studies, the World Health Organization has seen a 46% reduction in the HIV/AIDS rates if sex work is decriminalized. Ending sexual violence against sex workers would lead to a 20% reduction of new HIV cases. WHO encourages countries to support the well-being of the sex workers who live and work within their borders. Read more here.