Kaytlin Bailey on Legalization vs. Decriminalization

Apr 21, 2023

Kaytlin Bailey’s recent Washington Blade article, “Legalize weed, decriminalize SW. Know the difference,” provides a much-needed explainer on the distinctions between legalization and decriminalization and why these differences matter. Kaytlin Bailey argues that sex workers are not commodities that can be regulated and controlled like substances or objects, but rather, they are people and service providers who are an integral part of our communities.

Kaytlin Bailey’s article comes at a time when the sex work industry is facing increased scrutiny and controversy. While there has been progress made in some areas towards decriminalization, sex workers still face discrimination, violence, and criminalization in many parts of the world. Bailey’s expertise in the field of sex work and her personal experiences as a former sex worker give her a unique and valuable perspective on this issue.

Throughout her article, Bailey highlights the dangers of conflating legalization and decriminalization when it comes to sex work. Legalization can often lead to regulation that infringes on the rights and safety of sex workers, while decriminalization can help to ensure that sex workers are not criminalized for engaging in consensual adult activities. By understanding the differences between these two concepts, we can work towards creating policies and systems that support and protect sex workers.

One of the strengths of Bailey’s article is her ability to articulate the humanity and dignity of sex workers. She reminds us that sex workers are not faceless entities to be regulated and controlled, but rather, they are individuals with their own stories, experiences, and rights. As Bailey writes, “We are already an integral part of your community.” This reminder is especially important in a society where sex workers are often stigmatized and marginalized.

Overall, Kaytlin Bailey’s article is an important and insightful contribution to the ongoing conversation around sex work decriminalization. By highlighting the differences between legalization and decriminalization and emphasizing the humanity of sex workers, Bailey provides a nuanced and thoughtful perspective on this complex issue. We can all learn from her expertise and work towards creating a more just and equitable society for sex workers.