Opposition to Full Decriminalization

New York State Should Decriminalize Prostituted Individuals, Not Sex Buyers and Exploiters

LifeWay Network believes that people in prostitution should not be criminalized, as the vast majority are in prostitution due to lack of choices and vulnerable circumstances.

  • 90% of women in prostitution in the United States are trafficked and,
  • 92% of people in prostitution stated that they wanted to escape prostitution immediately.

The sex industry is built on inherent violence, abuse and abuse of power. This is why the most heinous and exploitative elements of the sex industry — sex buying and pimping — should not be decriminalized.

New York Assembly Member Chantel Jackson’s bill (A.7175), the Stop Violence in the Sex Trade Act, legalizes sex buying, pimping and sex tourism, which would increase the demand and lead to further exploitation of and violence against marginalized communities. Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas (District 34), who is currently the chair of the Human Trafficking Subcommittee, recently announced her co-sponsorship of AM Jackson’s bill and publicly supports the full decriminalization of the sex trade. This endorsement conflicts with her responsibilities as chair of the Human Trafficking Subcommittee and with New York’s commitments to combat human trafficking.

Full decriminalization of prostitution could have serious negative consequences. It would not only normalize the harmful effects of prostitution, but also legitimize the activities of pimps, traffickers and sex buyers. This would send a message that it is acceptable to buy and sell individuals for sexual services. Furthermore, Bill A.7175 could make vulnerable populations, including children, women and girls of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, more susceptible to sex trafficking and exploitation. Therefore, it is important to consider the potential impact of decriminalization on these marginalized communities before making any decisions.

LifeWay Network does not support Bill A.7175 and calls on New York State Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie to remove Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas as chair of the Human Trafficking Subcommittee. We must stand with survivors and ensure victims are protected, but we cannot do this while also protecting the exploiters. 

LifeWay Network supports and stands for the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act (S.1352/A.3386), also known as the Equality Model or Nordic Model, which calls for partial decriminalization. This will decriminalize and protect people in prostitution but holds sex buyers, pimps and brothel owners accountable.

We stand with victims and survivors of exploitation and human trafficking. We urge legislators and advocates to look beyond glossy titles like the “Stop Violence in the Sex Trade Act” before supporting legislation.