Why does sex work need to be decriminalized?
Sex work is a human right: Consensual adult sex work is a viable work option that helps people who need to have a flexible job. Sex workers’ human rights cannot be fully realized with criminal laws that threaten their access to justice, health, and social services.
Decriminalization decreases human trafficking: Human trafficking involves using force, fraud, or coercion against an individual to exploit them in a range of labor sectors, including the sex trades. Criminalization makes it harder for those who are trafficked to attain legal aid, support of the government, and get out of trafficking: why ask for help when you could get arrested and deported?
Decriminalization decreases health risks: Sex workers should have free access to healthcare to maintain their physical and mental health. Academic research has shown that “decriminalization…is associated with better coverage of health promotion programs for sex workers.” (Pubmed.gov)
Decriminalization protects sex workers from violence, especially police violence: There are many examples of police exploiting people on both sides of sex work transactions, whether that’s arresting people on suspicion of engaging in sex work or sexually exploiting and otherwise committing violence against sex workers. Decriminalization reduces the harm that sex workers endure on the job by providing workplace protections from all perpetrators. (ACLU)
Decriminalization reduces harm for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and BIPOC transgender communities: Workers and clients most targeted for arrest and experience violence are BIPOC people of all genders (trans, gender non-conforming, cis). Decriminalization is a means of achieving racial justice. (Amnesty International)