Why some advocates are pushing back against decriminalization in the sex trade
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There’s an effort underway to fully decriminalize the sex trade in the U.S. It’s horrifying many who know that life first hand.
“This idea that it’s her body, her choice and she has power and autonomy in the sex trade is a fallacy,” says Melanie Thompson with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.
Thompson was just 12 years old when she was kidnapped by a pimp and forced into prostitution. She says full decriminalization lets pimps and buyers off the hook. Instead, Thompson advocates for partial decriminalization – meaning the sex workers aren’t arrested, just buyers and brothels. But others say only full decriminalization can help those in the sex trade to make a living.
“It makes sense to me that if people feel like it’s messing with their ability to get paid, I totally understand that,” says Yasmin Vafa, co-founder and executive director of Rights4Girls. “But the reality is that prostitution cannot be the answer to poverty.”
Today, On Point: A personal story in the policy debate over decriminalization and the sex trade.
Melanie Thompson, Outreach and Advocacy Coordinator at the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. She’s also a survivor of domestic sex trafficking. She was trafficked and sold into prostitution in New York at the age of 12.
Ariela Moscowitz, Director of Communications for Decriminalize Sex Work, a national advocacy group working to end the prohibition of consensual adult prostitution in the U.S.
Yasmin Vafa, Co-founder and executive director of Rights4Girls.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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