Partial Decriminalization of the Sex Trade/The Equality Model

A session by Taina Bien-Aime, Cristian Eduardo, Esperanza Fonseca, Ane Mathieson and Melanie Thompson
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Sanctuary for Families, World Without Exploitation, ECPAT-USA, AF3RM, Sanctuary for Families and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

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About this session

Across the country, there is a heated debate and discussion about criminal justice. Among the many proposals being advocated by some is decriminalizing the sex trade in the U.S. Proponents for full decriminalization support not only decriminalizing those prostituted, but pimps, brothel owners and sex buyers as well.

Survivors of the sex trade and their legal advocates vehemently disagree that full decriminalization is prudent reform and believe that it would further commoditize vulnerable people and increase human trafficking. They instead support legislation based on the Equality Model that would decriminalize those sold in the sex trade but maintain that those who exploit others should still be held accountable for the devastating harm they cause. These survivors and advocates are hoping to make NYS the first state to enact the Equality Model in the 2021 legislative session by passing the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act.

In this presentation, lawyers, advocates and survivors will discuss the global history of the Equality Model and how passage of this legislation would affect NY law and protect survivors of trafficking. You will also hear directly from trafficking survivors who will explain why their personal experiences have made them certain that full decriminalization of prostitution is dangerous and would increase violence against people in the sex trade.

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