On 10/17 there is a hearing before DC City Council on a bill that fully decriminalizes buying sex and stash houses, which often involve significant amounts of coercive exploitation. The proposed amendments to the current laws on the sex trade are also contradictory and create confusion around what is and is not enforceable – laws need to be clear to be enforceable. This approach goes against common approaches across the US. For example, during the most recent legislative session, Texas created penalties for stash houses in a statewide bill just this year, and experts testified about the human trafficking and exploitation in stash houses.
This DC bill is too sweeping in its changes, and city council is proposing a 2 year research and exploratory committee AFTER the passage of this law, when it should be before.
Let City Council know you want them to do their full homework before removing penalties for stash houses, the nuisance abatement approach to brothels, and consequences for sex buyers. The first step should be to ONLY decriminalize those who are selling their own bodies, while we convene thoughtful, inclusive, and thorough leadership around any further decriminalization. Mary M. Cheh Brianne Nadeau The Council of the District of Columbia Anita Bonds Kenyan R. McDuffie
“Supporters of this legislation want you to believe that the bill simply would decriminalize those sold in prostitution, reducing interactions between victims of prostitution and the police. If that were the case, survivors and those working to end sex trafficking would be championing the bill.
But it would not, and facts matter. This bill would decriminalize people in prostitution, but it also would decriminalize pimps, sex buyers and brothel owners. Put another way, this legislation would make pimping legal in the District.”