Prostitution Legalization Bill Introduced

On June 10, 2019, Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Brooklyn) and Asm. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) introduced a bill to legalize prostitution in the State of New York.

Bill S.6419-Salazar/A.8230-Gottfried would make prostitution legal for consenting adults and would allow persons previously convicted of prostitution-related offenses to have those convictions vacated. According to the bill’s sponsors, attempting to stop prostitution by consenting adults “should not be the business of our criminal justice system.” Sen. Salazar and Asm. Gottfried contend that laws banning prostitution “criminalize women and LGBTQ people for acts of survival and resistance to the force of economic security.” The two legislators believe that “[it] is time to put people before antiquated moral judgments.”

While New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms believes that law enforcement efforts to combat prostitution should chiefly focus on those who patronize prostitutes and on those who profit from prostitution, we believe that prostitution between consenting adults must remain illegal in New York. The sponsors of this legislation are deeply confused in believing that prostitutes will be helped if their actions are made legal. If the Legislature truly desires to help persons engaged in prostitution, it must continue to crack down on human trafficking, attack the problem of youth homelessness in New York City, arrest and prosecute persons who pay for sex, and provide resources for those who wish to leave prostitution behind.