Ayanna Pressley Continues Criminal Justice Reform Work With Landmark Legislation to Decriminalize Sex Work

Illustration for article titled Ayanna Pressley Continues Criminal Justice Reform Work With Landmark Legislation to Decriminalize Sex Work
Photo: Steven Senne (AP)

While so much of the country’s politicians are concerned with impeachment, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) has laser focus. On Thursday morning, Pressley introduced a sweeping resolution of her view of what a criminal justice system could look like. It’s called The People’s Justice Guarantee with a broad range of proposals including a desire to decriminalize sex work.

The resolution came about as a collaboration among nearly two dozen grassroots organizations. Pressley said in a statement on Thursday:

“You cannot have a government for and by the people if it is not represented by all of the people. For far too long, those closest to the pain have not been closest to the power, resulting in a racist, xenophobic, rogue, and fundamentally flawed criminal legal system. The People’s Justice Guarantee is the product of a symbiotic partnership with over 20 grassroots organizations and people impacted by the discriminatory policies of our legal system. Our resolution calls for a bold transformation of the status quo - devoted to dismantling injustices so that the system is smaller, safer, less punitive, and more humane.”


In the resolution, TPJG calls for reducing the number of people incarerated by “decriminalizing sex work by removing criminal and civil penalties related to consensual sex work and addressing structural inequities that impede the safety, dignity, and wellbeing of all individuals, especially those most vulnerable to discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and citizenship status.”

The resolution is incredible reading because it spends nearly the first dozen pages outlining how the current criminal justice system incarcerates so many people, leading the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Read the entire resolution here.

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niyama aeon

So, I am all for making sure sex workers are protected and that consensual sex work is free of criminal liability and penalties. I feel that people who make money off the backs of these workers such as traffickers, pimps, madams, and brothel owners should be criminally liable as no matter how consensual the act they are still exploiting another human beings body for their own benefit. But here’s my issue, very few want this as a career. If there were other options for folks in this field I think we would see a pretty massive cratering of this industry. I believe that the current system for those who would choose this line of work is all about supporting the patriarchy.   So it’s a troubling issue for me, I’ve known women in this industry, from strippers to call girls.  Not a FUCKING one of them wanted this as their life, but for all of them it was the ONLY way to make a decent living to support themselves and their families.