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NEWS & PRESS FEATURES

LGBTQ rights vs. human trafficking

Decriminalization grows demand and expands markets. LGBTQ youth are already twice as likely to be sex trafficked as their non-LGBTQ peers. In a fully decriminalized world, pimps and traffickers will capitalize on this increased demand, ramping up their recruiting outside mental health treatment centers, youth homeless shelters, and wherever else vulnerable people congregate.

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NY Daily News | 06/25/24

An off ramp from 'sex work'

The Equality Mode law decriminalizes the people who are exploited, but holds accountable the people who profit off of others' misery. Many today would like to pretend that the sex trade is some kind of reasonable, normal job option for young people. We often hear “sex work is work,” and other trendy ways to sanitize sexual exploitation. But if we continue to do this, more will experience the horror that I did, and more children will be bought and sold.

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Times Union | 02/18/24

New York must do more to fight sex trafficking and help its victims

The Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act would tamp down demand for sex buying and connect victims with services.

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Times Union | 02/02/24

Decriminalizing sex work will create 'free for all' for exploitation, says trafficking survivor

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.

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NBC News | 12/09/23

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gothamist | 08/08/23

Push for action after sex trafficking concerns

Survivors of sex trafficking are calling for action after parts of the boroughs are turning into brothels

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NBC New York | 08/08/23

Sex trafficking a growing concern in NYC

These leaders say they've seen a dramatic rise in sex trafficking over the last couple of years, and that it affects every demographic group, and carries with it life and death risks.

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Fox 5 New York | 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.

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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.

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The New York Times | 07/19/23

Maine Becomes First State to Decriminalize Selling Sex

Buying sex will remain illegal in the state, as communities nationally reconsider how best to legislate prostitution

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The Washington Post | 06/30/23

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Daily News | 03/09/22

What the Sex Trade Means for Black Women: A Legacy to Confront

"The path we must pave for truth and reconciliation lies not in calling for regressive laws that sentence the most vulnerable among us to the sex trade," writes Taina Bien-Aimé.

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CATW | 02/28/22

New York might decriminalize sex work. But will it do so safely and responsibly?

Leftwing groups support a libertarian, free-market approach, while some sex trafficking survivors support a more cautious, regulated approach

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The Guardian | 02/27/22

How to bring sex work out of the shadows

The debate over different approaches to decriminalisation

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The Economist | 10/30/21

What’s the Best Way to Protect Sex Workers? Depends on Whom You Ask.

There are two competing bills in New York: One would punish pimps and customers, while the other would decriminalize the entire trade.

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The New York Times | 07/23/21

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.

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New York Post | 07/18/ 2021

To the Editor: Manhattan’s New Policy on Prostitution

"We celebrate the policy of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., of supporting survivors and declining to prosecute those bought in the sex trade," writes WorldWe Director and NYFEM member Lauren Hersh.

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The New York Times | 04/23/2021

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.

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Times Union | 03/08/2021

Is it time to decriminalize prostitution? Two New York bills answer yes in unique ways

One bill hopes to repeal the crime of selling sex and expand social services; the other would legalize the entire sex trade.

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Big Think | 03/01/2021

Looking Beyond Binaries: The Case for Partial Decriminalization of the Sex Trade

Ending criminal penalties for sex workers is long overdue, but it’s crucial to guard against exploitation as well.

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US News | 02/10/21

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.

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CBS News | 01/26/21

Bill to decriminalize sex work proposed in Albany

Prostitution will be decriminalized in New York state if a bill proposed by State Sen. Liz Krueger becomes law. Her proposal was hailed by Melanie Thompson, a survivor of sex trafficking and NY4EM member.

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PIX 11 | 01/25/21

New bill would decriminalize, support sex workers in New York

New Yorkers for the Equality Model introduces a new bill that would decriminalize sex work in New York — while still holding pimps and buyers accountable.

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New York Post | 01/25/2021

Keep punishing sex trafficking, N.Y.

NYFEM members Rebecca Zipkin & Sonia Ossorio discuss the dangers of decriminalizing the sex trade in New York City.

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NY Post | 12/15/2020

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.

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Ms. Magazine | 11/28/2020

‘It’s Out Of Control’: How QAnon Undermines Legitimate Anti-Trafficking Efforts

The child sex trade is a global crisis. Far-right conspiracy theorists are harassing, distracting and intimidating the organizations fighting to end it.

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HuffPost | 09/13/2020

“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.

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The Millennial Source | 09/06/20

QAnon Followers Are Hijacking the #SaveTheChildren Movement

Fans of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory are clogging anti-trafficking hotlines, infiltrating Facebook groups and raising false fears about child exploitation.

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The New York Times | 08/12/2020

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Queens Daily Eagle | 11/26/19

Decriminalizing the Sex Trade Isn't the Answer—The Equality Model Is

Legalizing prostitution legalizes pimping and sex buying, too. There is a better way.

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Marie Claire | 11/25/19

Understanding the Sex Trade with Sarah Jones and Alexi Ashe Meyers

The gang tackles the complicated questions around sex trafficking and the legalization of prostitution. They talk about the Equality Model with survivors. And everyone holds their breath while Keith speaks.

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Amy Schumer | 11/25/19

Work In Progress: Alexi Ashe Meyers

Alexi sits down with Sophia to discuss the bills to decriminalize prostitution which are popping up throughout the country, explain the Equality Model and why it's a better solution to support people in the sex trade, and share more insight.

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Sophia Bush | 11/25/19

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.

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New York Post | 11/19/19

Inside The Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence

Alexi Ashe Meyers chats “Lobby Baby” and the Equality Model

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Wake-Up Call | 11/18/19

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.

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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.

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Washington Post | 10/10/19

Prostitution Is on the Verge of Being Legalized — These Women Want it to Stop

As bills to decriminalize prostitution continue popping up across the country, these advocates say there’s a better way to support people in the sex trade.

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InStyle | 09/12/19

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.

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Washington Post | 09/02/19

D.C.’s bill to decriminalize prostitution has a big blind spot

Is it acceptable to residents of the District that their government might decriminalize the sale of the bodies of women and men, many of them transgender, to satisfy male desires?

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Washington Post | 08/30/19

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.

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Washington Post | 08/02/19

DC Council Bill Would Turn Our Nation’s Capital Into a Capital for Sex Tourism and Trafficking

The DC Council is considering a bill that would decriminalize the commercial sex trade in the District, enabling the abuse and trauma of more young women and girls.

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Washingtonian | 07/16/19

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.

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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.

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WNYC | 07/11/19

Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes remind us of how millions of women are exploited in the sex industry

Epstein’s crimes are sweeping and flagrant, but not drastically different from what commercial sexual exploitation looks like every single day in cities across America.

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NY Daily News | 07/11/19

Survivors Say No Full Decriminalization of Prostitution

An open letter from Survivors of Prostitution and Trafficking

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WorldWE | 06/25/19

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. 

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NY Daily News | 06/05/19

Sex-trade survivor: Don’t legalize prostitution in New York

State lawmakers pushing to legalize prostitution may want to think twice.

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New York Post | 06/02/19

Opinion: Legalizing Prostitution in NYS Would Ignore its True Costs

We need a legislative model shown to reduce the commercial sex market, increase safety, provide services for survivors, and hold men accountable for the crimes they commit. 

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CityLimits | 05/31/19

Could Prostitution Be Next to Be Decriminalized?

Presidential candidates and state lawmakers are all debating whether to remove penalties for prostitution, a proposal that used to be taboo in most political circles.

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The New York Times | 05/31/19

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