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In April 2021, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, then led by Cyrus Vance, announced that the Office would stop prosecuting prostitution. Shortly after taking office last month, his replacement, District Attorney Alvin Bragg, issued a memo detailing the many crimes his office will also decline to prosecute, including prostitution. However, selling or buying sex is still a Class B Misdemeanor in the state of New York, and it is also illegal almost everywhere else in the world. The philosophy behind the criminalization of sex work reflects a pervasive stigma and strong moral rejection of sex-for-pay. Contrastingly, the progressive movement of decriminalization is fueled by an ambition to empower sex workers as workers, increase their safety, and reduce the stigma on sex work.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice website on March 16, 2022. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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