Andrew Yang Comes Out In Support Of Decriminalizing Sex Workers But Not Patrons
Following his announcement, Yang's approach to decriminalization was critiqued by those more familiar with the topic.
December 24, 2019 at 12:40 am
Andrew Yang came out in support of partial sex worker decriminalization Monday on Twitter, announcing support for what is known as the Nordic/Swedish model.
The model, according to Scandanavian Human Rights Lawyers, was used to criminalize the purchase of sex — targeting law enforcement measures at sex buyers instead of the workers who Yang argues should be viewed as victims.
“We should consider decriminalizing sex work on the part of the seller; it would be helpful in combating human trafficking. Many sex workers are themselves victims,” Yang tweeted.
We should consider decriminalizing sex work on the part of the seller - it would be helpful in combating human trafficking. Many sex workers are themselves victims.— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) December 22, 2019
In an op-ed for Reason, Associate Editor Elizabeth Nolan Brown argued Yang’s proposal would still require law enforcement to target people paying for sex, which would ultimately mean — as Brown explains — “monitoring and conducting stings on sex workers," making it not the best plan for them.
Other candidates in the 2020 race have previously addressed the topic: Both Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have noted they were open to the idea of decriminalization, while New Jersey Senator Cory Booker fully came out in favor of decriminalization.
"As a general matter, I don't believe that we should be criminalizing activity between consenting adults, and especially when doing so causes even more harm for those involved,” Booker said in a statement provided to Refinery29. “The real question here is what will make sex workers safer and reduce exploitation, and abundant evidence points to decriminalization."
Yang's announced support, however, does come as a disappointment to some who saw him as someone who was not afraid to take a controversial stance. With his support of a Universal Basic Income and announced support for the legalization of magic mushrooms, many thought the candidate would push forward — meaning offering more than just partial decriminalization — on this topic as well.
Follow up with a statement from @BernieSanders's campaign: "Bernie believes that decriminalization is certainly something that should be considered. Other countries have done this and it has shown to make the lives of sex workers safer."— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) June 20, 2019