Sex trafficking survivor Melanie Thompson and Cook County, Ill. Sheriff Thomas Dart discuss their opposition to the full decriminalization of sex work on Meet the Press Reports.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced the arrests of three men charged with operating an interstate prostitution ring patronized by high tech and pharmaceutical executives, doctors, professors, lawyers, scientists, accountants, elected officials, military officers, and government contractors with security clearances.
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.
"There's a huge misconception around choice," sex trafficking survivor Melanie Thompson said. "Around the idea that these women are choosing to do this because they woke up one day and decided they wanted to. Cops now view the women as victims of sex traffickers caught in the switches between abusive pimps and the need to meet quotas, and the so-called "sex buyers."
The term “sex work” whitewashes the economic constraints, family ruptures and often sordid circumstances that drive many women to sell themselves. It flips the nature of the transaction in question: It enables sex buyers to justify their role, allowing the purchase of women’s bodies for their own sexual pleasure and violent urges to feel as lightly transactional as the purchase of packaged meat from the supermarket.
Arrests for prostitution-related offenses have dropped dramatically in New York City in recent years as the movement to decriminalize the sex trade has gained a foothold in local politics. But a coalition of women’s rights and anti-trafficking groups said on Tuesday that the shift away from criminalization had gone too far.
Buying sex will remain illegal in the state, as communities nationally reconsider how best to legislate prostitution.
“We have made strides in empowering affluent, educated women and girls,” writes Nicholas Kristof of the The New York Times. “But some of the most vulnerable girls in America, those in foster care, have benefited much less.” Read about survivor leader and CATW's Outreach & Advocacy Coordinator Melanie Thompson's journey and advocacy for survivors of trafficking and prostitution.
One, the Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act, would fully decriminalize prostitution, including pimps, traffickers and sex buyers. The other, the Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act, would focus on punishing sex buyers and pimps, while decriminalizing people in prostitution. Taina Bien-Aimé, CATW executive director, comments.
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CATW oral intervention during CSW64 mentioned in UN Press meeting coverage of final meeting of the commission.