Manhattan Will Stop Prosecuting Sex Workers
However, the full decriminalization of sex work has yet to be realized.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office announced it will stop prosecuting prostitution and unlicensed massage. Cy Vance, district attorney of New York County, has also requested that a judge dismiss 914 cases involving sex work and an additional 5,080 cases against people charged with “loitering for the purposes of prostitution,” a discriminatory law often referred to as the “walking while trans” statute.
The DA will continue prosecuting sex trafficking, as well as those who pay for sex — this is known as the “Swedish Model,” a legal model that sex workers vehemently oppose. Though Vance’s move is a step towards total decriminalization of sex work, continuing to prosecute customers of sex workers only keeps their profession underground. According to SWARM, criminalizing clients actually creates more dangerous working conditions for sex workers.
Eliza Orlins, who is in the running to replace Vance when his term is up, summed up her take on the decision: ”Am I glad that someone in a position as powerful as the Manhattan district attorney’s office is finally speaking out and saying that we shouldn’t be prosecuting people for engaging in their jobs? Of course I’m glad,” she told The New York Times. “But do I think that he deserves to be held out as heroic by the movement when he has not done enough and acted quickly enough? No.”