STATEMENT – Manhattan DA Stands Up for Victims of Prostitution; to Focus Efforts on Prosecuting Sex Buyers, Traffickers

NCOSE Press Statement logo

Washington, DC (April 21, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) commends the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for refusing to criminalize victims of prostitution by announcing that it wouldn’t prosecute individuals in prostitution and unlicensed illicit massage, and instead, would focus efforts on prosecuting the buyers of prostituted persons, as well as their traffickers/pimps.

“We commend DA Vance for taking a stand for the dignity of victims of prostitution by refusing to prosecute them. Prostitution preys on vulnerable people and leads to psychological and physical trauma that cannot be regulated away. The focus of any prosecutor should be on reducing demand for sex, and ensuring that sex buyers and traffickers/pimps are held to account,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“The law should penalize those who pay to use the bodies of other people for sex and those who seek to traffic them, rather than targeting vulnerable people who need exit services rather than fines and jail time.”

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



Survivor Lawsuit Against Twitter Moves to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Survivors’ $12.7M Victory Over Explicit Website a Beacon of Hope for Other Survivors

Instagram Makes Positive Safety Changes via Improved Reporting and Direct Message Tools

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.