NEWS & PRESS FEATURES
Why some advocates are pushing back against decriminalization in the sex trade
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.
WBUR NPR | 08/29/23
Exclusive NYPD ride along exposes illicit sex trade in NYC, what officers are doing to stop it
"For law enforcement to partner with us and say we agree, we're standing in solidarity, we want to convey this message that we recognize that the primary prevention here is to go after the demand, the men who are fueling the sex trade, is so inspiring," said Ane Mathieson of Sanctuary for Families.
Police say they've come to see prostitution in this area as a supply and demand problem that fuels violent crime.
ABC 7 NY | 08/18/23
What It Means to Call Prostitution 'Sex Work'
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.
The New York Times | 08/17/23
Trafficking survivors call on Mayor Adams to crack down on 'johns' who pay for sex
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.
Gothamist | 08/08/23
Politicians, prosecutors dropping the ball on booming NYC sex trade: advocates
Big Apple pols and prosecutors are blowing it when it comes to stemming the city’s booming sex trade — letting pimps and “johns” off the hook while picking on vulnerable sex workers, anti-trafficking advocates charged Tuesday.
The New York Post | 08/08/23
When Children Are Bought and Sold
Melanie, now 27, warns that the result of full decriminalization, including allowing pimps and brothels, would be more trafficking of victims who are overwhelmingly Black and brown, or coming out of foster care, or L.G.B.T.Q. youth or others who are marginalized.
The New York Times | 07/19/23
A Humane Approach to Sex Work: Lawmakers from Three States Call for Action
As state legislators representing districts in Maine, Massachusetts, and New York, we believe it is the job of government to aid and protect vulnerable and marginalized people against the systems of exploitation that seek to harm and take advantage of them. That is why we support a policy of partial decriminalization, also known as the Equality Model or the Nordic Model.
NY Daily News | 01/32/23
Sen. Krueger Holds Press Conference for the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act
On Tuesday, May 10th, 2022, Senator Liz Krueger, Assembly Member Pamela Hunter and allies held a press conference in support of the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act. This legislation would be an additional tool to prevent sex trafficking in New York.
Liz Krueger | 05/16/22
Making prostitution legal in Rhode Island: The out-of-state money behind the push
Indoor prostitution was legal in Rhode Island for decades, and survivors say the state was a hub for exploitation, trafficking and abuse. Now, out-of-state non-profits are lobbying to decriminalize or even legalize commercial sex -- and some local politicians are listening.
Boston Globe | 4/25/2022
NY can lead in protecting sex workers under the law
It is welcome news that New York is now considering the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act, a bill to decriminalize people in prostitution. Sponsored by Sen. Liz Kreuger and Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, this law reform is long overdue.
Times Union | 04/10/22
Is Decriminalizing the Sex Trade the Answer? Debunking the ACLU's Report
The New Yorkers for the Equality Model, a survivor-led alliance of advocates, sex trafficking and prostitution survivors, presents this critique of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)’s research brief entitled “Is Sex Work Decriminalization The
Answer? What The Research Tells Us.”
NYFEM | 03/31/22
Dividing line between sex trade and sex work
There is widespread agreement about the need to avoid criminalizing victims of sex trafficking, but how should New York handle the other players involved in the sex trade, including adults who aren’t coerced into sex work or the New Yorkers who pay for sex? For answers we turned to Melanie Thompson of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Alexi Meyers of Sanctuary for Families, who are pushing legislation that would decriminalize sex work, while still preventing it from becoming a legal profession.
The Capitol Pressroom | 03/ 14/ 22
A note about prostitution to a John (Oliver, that is)
Dear John Oliver,
You once said, “When you’re dealing with serious subjects, there is a pressure to be absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.” Unfortunately, when it comes to your recent “Last Week Tonight” segment on the sex trade — one in which you seemed to welcome turning the Big Apple into a Red Light District — you missed this mark by a mile.
Daily News | 03/09/22
Brooklyn prostitution market carries on despite storm, NYPD deterrence
Brooklyn’s open-air prostitution market was up and running over the weekend — with the only deterrence some thunderstorms that blew through Saturday into early Sunday as law enforcement continued to largely sit back and observe the brazen enterprise.
New York Post | 07/18/ 2021
Commentary: For survivors of sex trafficking, a path toward justice and hope
Current laws in our state are not as effective, trauma-informed or victim-centered as they must to protect those at risk and help those exploited in the sex trade, writes NYFEM Coalition Member Cristian Eduardo.
Times Union | 03/08/2021
New York bill would decriminalize people in prostitution, punish pimps and buyers
The Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act, introduced by Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, with input from survivors and their advocates, would decriminalize prostitution in New York while holding pimps, sex traffickers and buyers accountable.
CBS News | 01/26/21
The Ms. Q&A: Actor-Activist Vanessa Marano on Shifting the Trafficking Narrative to Survivors
Ms. reporter Corinne Ahrens sat down with actor-activist Vanessa Marano to unpack what the sisters are doing to re-center survivors’ stories, as well as acknowledging the work that still desperately needs to be done.
Ms. Magazine | 11/28/2020
“Anybody can be a human trafficker.” Taina Bien-Aimé, Executive Director of CATW, on sexual exploitation, QAnon and the dangers of conspiracy theories
In a wide-ranging phone interview, Bien-Aimé talks with TMS on topics related to her work, from QAnon and the impact of conspiracy theories on the cause, to the way sexual exploitation and its ripple effects are often misunderstood by society.
The Millennial Source | 09/06/20
PODCAST: The Heartbreaking Realities of Human Trafficking
Alexi Ashe Meyers, human rights attorney, and Melanie Thompson, a speaker and activist in ending global sex and human trafficking, discuss the untold stories of trafficking victims and what’s being done today to stop this modern-day slavery.
NSL Double Talk | 07/01/2020
Mainstreaming Pimpland in the NYC Subway System
14 NYC-based groups, mostly direct service providers, survivor-led groups, and women’s rights organizations, challenged the MTA for accepting advertising that violates its own internal rules prohibiting the promotion of illegal goods and activities, political messages or “sexually oriented business.”
Women's eNews | 04/05/20
MTA slammed for promoting ‘Sex Workers Pop-Up’ ad
The MTA displayed a series of advertisements promoting a “Sex Workers Pop-up” exhibit — breaking their own rules against “sexually oriented” ads and angering sex trafficking survivors who said they’re green-lighting an industry that’s inherently harmful.
NY Post | 03/16/20
Should sex work be decriminalized? It’s become a political issue
A group is pushing to decriminalize buying and selling sex and managing people for prostitution, but others in the sex trade community are saying it’s a terrible idea. The issue has made its way to the 2020 campaign trail. NBC senior national correspondent Kate Snow reports on TODAY.
TODAY | 01/30/20
Opponents of sex work decriminalization launch 2020 legislative fight
Opponents of the decriminalization of the adult sex trade gathered to celebrate the launch of a new coalition and legislative campaign they say will protect vulnerable people in the sex trades and hold those who purchase sex and human traffickers to account.
Queens Daily Eagle | 11/26/19
NYC could be next prostitution hub if legalized: trafficking survivors
Trafficking survivors spoke at an event in Manhattan where they detailed the “horrific” experience of being sold across the country, including in New York, and how the Big Apple is destined to be the next prostitution “hub” if the act is legalized.
New York Post | 11/19/19
Activists want 2020 candidates to clarify support for decriminalizing sex work
Activists and survivors of sex trafficking are calling on 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to clarify their potential support for decriminalizing sex work, arguing that across-the-board policies could have unintended consequences.
The Hill | 10/14/19
D.C. bill would empower pimps and brothel owners — not women
OPINION: Our nation’s capital is on the brink of giving sexual predators more power, stamping legal some of the most misogynistic, exploitative conduct. And one thing’s for sure, this bill won’t keep anyone healthy or safe.
Washington Post | 10/10/19
D.C.’s bill to decriminalize prostitution would hurt the people it aims to help
Editorial Board: Decriminalizing prostitution has become a priority for the progressive movement, and the movement is slowly picking up steam across the country. But council members would do well to look beyond the progressive label that has been attached to decriminalization.
Washington Post | 09/02/19
There’s a way to decriminalize prostitution without putting women at risk
It’s necessary and long overdue to decriminalize individuals in the sex trade who represent some of the most marginalized members of our community. But offering legal protection to those who exploit them is a misguided and dangerous policy that threatens to turn the District into a sex tourist destination and harm the very communities the bill aims to protect.
Washington Post | 08/02/19
Taina Bien-Aimé on Jeffrey Epstein’s Arrest, Alex Acosta, Fighting Sexual Trafficking and More
Taina Bien-Aimé, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, discusses the recent arrest of Jeffrey Epstein and how it is related to her efforts to end sexual trafficking.
Democracy NOW | 07/12/19
The Case Against 'Full Decriminalization' of Sex Work
Rebecca Zipkin, attorney at Sanctuary for Families and former prosecutor in Brooklyn prosecuting cases of sex trafficking and sex crimes, and Taina Bien Aime, the executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), argue that full decriminalization will lead to the flourishing of the sex trade, often at the expense of the workers themselves.
WNYC | 07/11/19
A big mistake on sex work: Reformers would let buyers, pimps and promoters escape criminal consequences
Advocates in New York are pushing for the full decriminalization of prostitution. If successful, people would no longer be arrested or prosecuted for selling, purchasing or facilitating (pimping) the sale of sex.
NY Daily News | 06/05/19
Gloria Steinem and Advocates Applaud NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson for His Commitment to Criminal Justice Reform
Speaker Johnson’s Call for the Equality Model is the right step to protect and promote the well-being of those who are sex trafficked and individuals in the sex trade while holding accountable those who harm them.
Sanctuary for Families | 05/20/19
Council Speaker tells Albany to repeal ‘archaic’ loitering law without decriminalizing sex trade
New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson today urged state lawmakers to pass a bill that would eliminate the charge for “loitering for the purposes of engaging in a prostitution offense.”
Queens Daily Eagle | 05/16/19