NY Lawmakers Compete to Decriminalize Sex Work

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Two separate New York bills, the Stop the Violence in the Sex Trades Act and the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act, aim to decriminalize sex work in significantly different ways, reports Law 360. The first bill seeks to fully decriminalize sex work for workers themselves as well as their clients and managers, while the second would only decriminalize it for sex workers.  The Stop the Violence in the Sex Trades Act, introduced by Senator Julia Salazar, would decriminalize consensual sex between adults in exchange for a fee, which is currently a class B misdemeanor. It would also decriminalize use of buildings for sex work, and has a provision to expunge criminal records for prostitution-related offenses that create barriers to employment, housing and access to higher education.

The Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act, introduced by Senator Liz Krueger, aims to help sex workers exit the industry by providing them with social services, housing and other types of support. The bill would make selling sex legal but still prosecute patrons and pimps. It would also continue to forbid sex workers living in the same dwelling. Current and former sex workers have come out in support of both bills, but the coalition powering the Salazar-backed bill is much wider and includes several LGBTQ rights groups, transgender-led organizations, advocacy and immigration groups.

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