Sex work is legitimate work, we should all know that by now, and as we close in on the 2020 USA election the topic of decriminalisation is one being raised loudly and clearly. But it turns out that our new potential ~ leaders of the free world ~ aren’t quite as on board with letting sex workers just live their lives as we’d hoped.
At the moment, the only state that brothels can legally operate in is Nevada, and even then it’s still illegal if you’re working somewhere that isn’t a brothel. You can be arrested and thrown in jail for it everywhere else.
Clearly this hasn’t stopped anything. You won’t be surprised at all to find out that sex work is still very much happening across the country, but the lack of any legal protection is making the job far more dangerous than it needs to be. One Colorado study estimated that the death rate for active sex workers in the state was 5.9% higher than that of the general population.
So what are the people who want to be put in charge of the country going to do about this? Disappointingly… not a lot.
Buzzfeed asked every single one of the 26 candidates whether or not they were in favour of decriminalising sex work. All but four either said no or dodged the question.
Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, and Mike Gravel were the ones who said they’d absolutely support decriminalisation of sex work. The fact that I’ve been following the US presidential race relatively closely and still had to Google all of these people doesn’t bode well for my hopes of a President who would stop people arresting sex workers for their job.
Now for the ones you’re more likely to have heard of.
Elizabeth Warren tweeted that she was “open” to decriminalising sex work. Bernie Sanders says he’ll consider it. Maybe I’m just cynical, but it doesn’t fill be with hope tbh. As for Donald Trump, he didn’t even reply to the question, so there’s your answer.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll see some movement on this. Realistically thought, I’m worried that if the States are still arguing over whether or not the President should have his Twitter account taken away, the safety of sex workers might be forced into the background, like so many other aspects of their lives.
I’m hoping not.