Sex Work Advocates Slam Kamala Harris Over “False” Calls for Decriminalization

Criminalization impacts workers "human rights and safety."

decriminalize sex work
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was slammed by a sex work advocacy group. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Sex work advocates requested a meeting with Senator Kamala Harris (D. Calif.) on Wednesday after the official said that she would like to see it become decriminalized nation-wide.

The group, Decrim NY, said in a news release that it demanded a meeting with the 2020 Presidential candidate to “share how criminalization impacts their human rights and safety,” The Hill reported.

The group slammed Harris, saying her call for decriminalization “rings false” and for what they see as her support for the “Nordic Model,” “which targets, arrests, and incarcerates clients of sex workers, as well as drivers, landlords, family members, partners, who provide services and care to sex workers, and sex workers collaborating to keep each other safe.”

“It is criminalization, and it puts people who trade sex at increased risk of violence, economic instability, and labor exploitation,” the group added.

The group is currently working with Senate Women’s Health Committee Chair Julia Salazar, Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried to introduce state decriminalization legislation in New York, according to The Hill.

“Decrim NY also calls on all presidential candidates to support the full decriminalization of sex work to promote the the safety, wellbeing, and health of all people in the sex trades,” the group said.

Harris told The Root in an interview this week that she supports the decriminalization of sex work nationwide, noting that “we can’t criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed.”

“I was advocating [15 years ago] that we have to stop arresting these prostitutes and start going after the johns and the pimps, because we were criminalizing the women,” Harris said.

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