There is a larger national debate, not just in New York, about crime and sex. Those who willingly work in the sex trade have found themselves frustrated that their legislators do not address their concerns and are excited and satisfied that state politicians are finally taking a hard look at the situation.
According to The New York Times, the state legislature introduced a bill that would decriminalize prostitution and still prohibit coercion, trafficking and sexual abuse of minors while allowing for consenting adults to pay for sex. Governor Cuomo has not endorsed the effort and there is no guarantee the bill will pass, but many see the legislation as a positive move toward normalizing the sex industry.
The state health committee chairman states that the criminal justice system should not be in the business of stopping sex work when both adults are consenting. He believes that criminalizing prostitution forces sex workers to move to the underground where exploitation and abuse are promoted.
Prostitution is currently only legal in one other state, and the bill’s opponents fear that decriminalizing prostitution will only encourage sex trafficking. For centuries, citizens have been punished for using their bodies to make a living and some feel that more harm than good has been done by the public policy of criminalizing prostitution.
Some believe that the new progressive bill is the result of Democrats unseating several Republicans during the last election. Many see the state as leading the way in the conversation about normalizing the sex industry although there is no guarantee the measure will pass through the rest of the legislature or through the governor.