Activists Push for a Decriminalization Bill in New York
Despite what some assume, SW is not decriminalized in the state of New York or even in New York City. Some of this confusion comes from the District Attorney of Manhattan announcing last year that his office would be dismissing cases of pr*stitution. While this certainly does sound like decriminalizing SW, it’s just one official’s decision. We need a law that makes decriminalization official to fully stop police from arresting and harassing SWers. That’s why SWers and advocates are pushing for a decriminalization bill in New York.
The Stop Violence in the S*x Trades Act (SVSTA) has yet to make it past New York Senate’s code committee. There seem to be an endless number of committees in state politics, so for those of us who don’t have all of them memorized, just know that this essentially means the bill has not been scheduled for a vote yet. However, activists made waves and headlines when a group of more than ninety advocates for SVSTA lobbied inside the Albany Capitol Building in New York. Fun fact: Old Pros Founder & Executive Director Kaytlin Bailey was one of them!
There’s another bill being pushed called the S*x Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act, which seems to be pushing for decriminalization at a glance, but is actually pushing for a Nordic Model or End Demand approach. As a refresher, the Nordic Model seeks to entirely eradicate SW by criminalizing clients and third parties but not SWers. These models have been proven to only increase violence, as it takes away negotiating power from SWers and still involves the police who are known to harass and deport SWers.
The decriminalization of SW is the only policy that creates a safe, free environment for everyone, and is the only policy supported by organizations like the ACLU, Amnesty International, The World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch, and UNAids. And Old Pros. We support it too, if you couldn’t tell.