Sex work advocates blast Queens, NY DA’s plan to prosecute buyers

Less than a year after Democrat Melinda Katz told one LGBTQ political club that she backed the outright legalization of sex work and conveyed to another queer club that she would focus on prosecuting “human traffickers or those who force people into sex work,” the top prosecutor in Queens, NY is singing a different tune now that she’s in office — and advocates are fed up.

DecrimNY, the coalition driving the movement to fully decriminalize sex work in New York, joined a chorus of advocates on the issue, including Queens lawmakers, queer political club leaders, and other political figures who are criticizing Katz after she vowed to “aggressively” target buyers of sex work services as part of her newly-unveiled Human Trafficking Bureau.

In an announcement previewing the office, Katz invoked transgender victims of trafficking, vowed to support sex workers, and claimed that the office is committed to combating sex and labor trafficking — a key component of the DecrimNY platform — but then came the fine print. The DA’s explicit plans to go after buyers is a route that advocates have long said could cut off the main source of revenue for sex workers and put them or others they know at risk of getting swept up in the criminal justice system.

Decriminalization backers have also stressed that the interconnected system that makes up the sex trade requires comprehensive reform in order to foster a truly safe environment for workers.

“We have been clear from the start that criminalizing any side of the exchange will cause further harm to people who trade sex,” Leila Raven, who is on the steering committee for DecrimNY, told Gay City News on behalf of the coalition. “Peers and roommates are often charged as third parties, or even as traffickers, for sharing housing and safety strategies. We are disappointed that DA Katz is pursuing an approach that has been proven to put sex workers and survivors at increased risk of violence and exploitation.”

Red Canary Song, a collective of Asian sex workers and allies, retweeted a series of Twitter posts critical of Katz’s new plan, including a tweet by Maya Morena asserting that the prosecutor leading the new office, Jessica L. Melton, “literally fights to ensure that sex workers are evicted, denied services, and any business (lower-income businesses) serving people who only use cash (aka poor poeple), and doesn’t have papers (undocumented immigrants) are destroyed.”

More at QNS

573910cookie-checkSex work advocates blast Queens, NY DA’s plan to prosecute buyers

Sex work advocates blast Queens, NY DA’s plan to prosecute buyers

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One Response

  1. Human Trafficking has become the new Boogie Man phrase to replace Serial Killers in the public conscious. Anything thats sex related becomes “OMG there is human trafficking going on, we need to immediately stamp it out”.

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