According to the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking, there were about 1,000 confirmed victims of sex trafficking in New York between 2007 and 2019, a number that Meyers says is likely an undercount of actual victims. If the Stop Violence Act is passed, this number could increase. A 2013 study of 150 countries showed that, on average, countries where prostitution is legal reported higher inflows of human trafficking across sectors. With regard to sex work alone, trafficking in human beings in Germany gradually decreased until 2001 and then increased again after decriminalisation in 2002. In response to questions from Rolling Stone, Emily Tuttle, assistant director of communications in Vance`s office, confirmed that the new policy would not interfere with the office`s approach to cases of human trafficking or paternalization arrests for third-degree prostitution. When asked if the bureau was aware of any data suggesting criminalizing the purchase of at-risk sex workers, Tuttle said, “The bureau is currently considering a number of legislative proposals.” “The decriminalization of prostitution is supported by a powerful lobby.” In a statement, Vance, who recently announced he would not seek re-election, said his office made the decision not to prosecute prostitution cases following discussions with sex worker rights groups. “Over the past decade, we have learned from those with lived experience and from our own experience on the ground: pursuing prostitution does not make us safer and too often achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers,” he said, adding that by dismissing cases and removing previous convictions, We are bringing “a paradigm shift in our approach” to sex work. The largely “progressive” NYFEM alliance reminds us that opposition to prostitution is not limited to conservative or radical feminists, even though major human rights organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty have been co-opted by the ideology of “sex work.” By effectively legalizing all sex trafficking, this law has the potential to make New York a global center for sex tourism and human trafficking, as studies have shown that legalizing prostitution leads to an increase in human trafficking, including an increased number of children entering sex trafficking. The global average age for entering sex trafficking is between 12 and 14 years, with children generally remaining in commerce until adulthood.
In the Netherlands, where it is legal for a man to buy a woman for sexual purposes, the number of child victims of sex trafficking increased by 300 per cent between 1996 and 2001. Prostitution has also been widely promoted in the media, most notably in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In an episode on “sex work,” Oliver advocated legalizing prostitution and compared selling his own body to making sandwiches at Subway. World Without Exploitation, one of the nonprofits in the NYFEM coalition, blasted Oliver in a response video made by survivors of sex trafficking. It also strengthens human trafficking laws by removing a loophole in New York State law that prevents sex buyers like Jeffrey Epstein from being charged with promoting prostitution and eliminates the defenses of ignorance afforded to those who purchase sexual services from children under the age of 11 (1st degree). 15 years old (2nd degree) or in a school zone. Dispute over two competing prostitution laws in New York State legislature reveals growing rift among progressives Jayne Bigelsen, vice president of advocacy at Covenant House, an agency that provides shelter, food, immediate crisis care and other services to homeless and runaway youth, said that “a few years ago, the pimps were so brazen that they placed an ad on Craig`s list. He said, “Hey, you live in the CoV? We can help you earn more money. When agency staff reported the complaint to the anti-trafficking unit of the Manhattan District Attorney`s Office, an investigation revealed a trafficking ring. She noted: “With the complete decriminalization of prostitution, no one would have investigated this complaint because it would be perfectly legal to recruit our young people over the age of eighteen. It would be perfectly legal for them to set up a recruitment centre across the street from our homeless shelter. For too long, around the world, those who have been bought and sold in the sex trade – mostly women – have been targeted by law enforcement, while those who buy and sell them – so-called “customers” and pimps – enjoy impunity.
In Sweden, we were the first to pass a law in 1999 that became the model for what is now called the equality model or Nordic model. We recognize that prostitution is an expression of inequality – inequality between the buyers of prostitution and those who are sold or sell themselves for what we recognize as sexual exploitation. Our Swedish model has proven to be an effective exit strategy for people exploited by the sex industry, as well as an effective strategy to combat the scourge of sex trafficking. Since 2002, when the German law was passed, sex trafficking has reportedly at least tripled – there are now an estimated 400,000 people. Most of them are women and most come from other countries, driven by desperation and some of them are traded by third-party profiteers. Now Germany and the Netherlands are rethinking because their approach to legalizing prostitution has not had the desired effect. Alexi Meyers, a former prosecutor and advisor to the Partial Decriminalization Act, told me that if the Stop Violence Act repealed a law that criminalized the “promotion of prostitution” (referring to pimps) at the level of crimes, it would take “the bread and butter out of human trafficking cases.” The bill proposes to keep the most relevant laws at the level of crimes, such as: against trafficking of minors or promotion of prostitution in school zones. While “progressive” Democrats are largely behind the push to decriminalize prostitution, the two New York bills and my lobbying experience show that support for decriminalizing sex trafficking is far from unanimous, even among identified “progressive” Democrats.
It is unclear when politicians will vote on the two bills. Of course, these two powerful Democratic lobby groups won`t stop advocating for their causes, even if that means waiting for several more sessions of the state legislature until New York makes a final decision on what prostitution means for women`s rights. Will New York treat the sale of women and girls for sex like any other business, or declare prostitution a form of exploitation and a male right from which women and girls must be protected? Following the closure of brothels across Europe, 16 members of the German Bundestag recently supported our gender equality model and expressed hope that brothels will remain permanently closed when the country reopens. The marketing of prostitution in Germany illustrates the evils of prostitution – the “packages” of mega-brothels that advertise beer, hot dogs and women, commercialize and dehumanize women. They are humiliating, they have no power. By refusing to prosecute cases of prostitution, New York City has joined other cities like Baltimore, which have made similar announcements as a result of ongoing discussions on decriminalizing sex work and criminal justice reform. (Other counties, such as Queens, have also announced that they will deny the prostitution allegations.) And many sex workers` rights advocates applauded the postponement.