ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) – New York lawmakers introduced a bill that would decriminalize sex work in the state on Monday.
The Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act amends statutes so that consenting adults who trade sex, collaborate with or support sex working peers, or patronize adult sex workers will not be criminalized.
Lawmakers say the proposal would also change an existing law that would allow people to trade no-longer-criminalized sex in spaces where legal businesses are permitted. Penalties for trafficking and patronizing a person under the age of 18 would remain under the proposal.
The proposal amends or repeals the following:
- Repeals sections of the penal code that prohibit prostitution and ends the criminalization of adults who buy or sell sex.
- “Advancing prostitution” is changed to protect people between 17 and 21 who are working together. Lawmakers say this change mirrors the statutory rape law and protects LGBTQ youth who often work together to stay safer.
- Anyone who patronizes someone between 15 and 18 would be charged with a misdemeanor. Anyone who patronizes someone under the age of 15 would be charged with a felony.
- Amends parts of the multiple dwelling law, public health law, real property actions, and proceedings law, real property law, vehicle and traffic law, and the administrative code of the City of New York to make changes and classifications to make sure actions by sex workers are decriminalized and protected.
- The bill amends gendered language of “he or she” to a “a person,” “an actor,” or “an individual” to include gender identities of LGBTQ communities.
- The proposal would add a provision for sex workers to apply for criminal record relief for crimes that they were previously convicted of that were repealed under the bill.