A group of New York state lawmakers on Monday announced what could be a landmark effort to roll back laws against prostitution, an effort that could lead to legalization of consensual sex work in New York.
The criminalization of sex work disproportionately impacts LGBTQI+ NYers, immigrants, and people of color, wrote State Senator Brad Hoylman, chair the New York Senate Judiciary Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation. It perpetuates stigma,
and it furthers a devastating cycle of incarceration. We need change.
Senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salaza are also backing the proposed package of legislation.
The move in New York comes soon after a Rhode Island lawmaker introduced a resolution to study decriminalizing sex work in that state, and about two months after the mayor of New Orleans , Louisiana, called for increased legal protection for sex
The bills set to be introduced by the New York lawmakers would repeal a state statute that makes loitering for the purposes of prostitution a criminal offense. Under another provision of the proposed new laws, any conviction for prostitution
deemed to be the result of sex trafficking would be immediately voided.
A federal court considering a challenge to the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017, or FOSTA , dismissed the case on Monday.
EFF and partner law firms filed a lawsuit in June against the Justice Department on behalf of two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist to block enforcement of FOSTA.
Unfortunately, a federal court sided with the government and dismissed Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States. The court did not reach the merits of any of the constitutional issues, but instead found that none of the plaintiffs had
standing to challenge the law's legality.
We're disappointed and believe the decision is wrong. For example, the court failed to apply the standing principles that are usually applied in First Amendment cases in which the plaintiffs' speech is chilled. The plaintiffs are considering
their options for their next steps.
FOSTA was passed by Congress for the worthy purpose of fighting sex trafficking, but the poorly-written bill contains language that criminalizes the protected speech of those who advocate for and provide resources to adult, consensual sex
workers. Worse yet, the bill actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims.
The lawsuit argues that FOSTA forces community forums and speakers offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability, in violation of their constitutional rights. We asked the federal court to strike down the law, though the
government argued that the plaintiffs were not likely to be subject to criminal or civil liability under the law.