STAND WITH SURVIVORS
Bring the Equality Model to New York State
As proud New Yorkers, we believe in equality and justice for all people. Realizing this vision will only be possible if we address one of the most exploitative, unequal systems that exist in our State, prostitution.
The sex trade, particularly prostitution, preys on the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our communities — women and girls, especially of color, the LGBTQ+ population, run away and foster youth, individuals experiencing homelessness, and undocumented immigrants. It is rooted in inequality, which pimps and traffickers abuse to sell vulnerable people to sex buyers with expendable income. In prostitution, vulnerable people are being traded like commodities.
Pimps and traffickers, brothel and illicit massage parlor owners, and sex buyers themselves cause people in prostitution physical harm and emotional trauma that is lifelong. In fact, survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution have testified countless times that sex buyers inflicted some of the worst harm they experienced when in “the life.” And PTSD among people in prostitution and survivors of sex trafficking and prostitution is equal to levels found among combat veterans. The sex trade system operates on physical and psychological violence. The traumatic scars it leaves cannot be regulated or deregulated away. The sex trade cannot be made less harmful.
Our State needs a nuanced and holistic approach to address prostitution that will shrink this exploitative system and provide resources to those impacted by it most. One that:
Ensures people in prostitution are not prosecuted or incarcerated, are supported with comprehensive and specialized services (including access to housing, trauma-informed medical care, etc.), and are given options to help them leave the sex trade should they wish it.
Holds pimps and traffickers, brothel and illicit massage parlor owners, and those who feed the trade with their dollars – the sex buyers – accountable for the harm they cause.
Recognizes that the sex trade, particularly prostitution, is where sex trafficking happens; the demand for prostitution fuels sex trafficking; and that penalizing this demand shrinks the sex trade and ensures that less and less vulnerable people will be pulled into harm’s way.
Calls on New Yorkers to live up to our promise of equality for all through extensive community education with the end goal of promoting gender equality.
This is the Equality Model.
April 2021 Update: State Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblymember Pamela Hunter introduced the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act, bill S6040/A7069, in both chambers of the New York State Legislature. Drafted while actively involving survivors and advocates to create solutions to meaningfully help those in prostitution, the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act will bring the Equality Model to our State. Learn more about what the bill will do.
I am calling on my state and local elected officials and agencies and my fellow New Yorkers to support the Equality Model in our State. Pass the Sex Trade Survivors Justice and Equality Act!