ALBANY — A half dozen state legislators are pushing forward to legalize prostitution across New York State.
A pair of bills — S6419 and A8230 — look to repeal statutes that criminalize sex work between consenting adults — however, laws would be kept in place relating to minors or trafficking.
For those that have prior criminal records related to prostitution, the legislation would wipe those charges clean.
Legislators cited over a dozen criminal and civil laws that “punish adults who consent to buy or sell sex,” and said that business between consenting adults should not be the business of the state’s criminal justice system.
Further, the criminalization “drives sex work in the shadows” with “increased violence, abuse and exploitation” while increasing vulnerability to trafficking.
Additionally, the legislative documents say that “history shows us that criminalizing sex work between consenting adults does not end the demand for sex work, and it certainly does not improve the lives of people who participate in the sex trades by choice, circumstance, or coercion, or people who are profiled as sex workers.”
Supporters of the bill say the changes would allow people in the industry to work in a safe legal environment.
The six co-sponsoring Democrats in the Senate and House represent New York City.