July 20, 2019

Washingtonian Article Calls Out the Harms of Fully Decriminalizing Prostitution in DC

Below is an excerpt from the article published on the Washingtonian recognizing the harms of fully decriminalizing prostitution. Learn more here.

DC Council Bill Would Turn Our Nation’s Capital Into a Capital for Sex Tourism and Trafficking

I wish I could say I was shocked by the sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein. But as someone who supports survivors of sexual exploitation and trafficking, the disturbing allegations that he and a handful of powerful men molested dozens of girls is a story I hear daily.

What is shocking is that the DC Council is considering a bill that would decriminalize the commercial sex trade in the District, enabling the abuse and trauma of more young women and girls. It is urgent that the Council reconsider this bill before our nation’s capital becomes a hub for sex tourism and a haven for sex offenders like Epstein.

Earlier this month, I met with five local sex trafficking survivors, ages 14 to 17, all of whom were found in abandoned homes or apartments where adult men bought and sold them. Some were missing for days or even weeks before investigators found them. I asked these girls about the Council’s bill—they were furious. They said that if DC decriminalized brothels, there would be “more missing girls” with less hope of being found. “Why stop there?” one of them asked. “Why not just decriminalize our murder?”

They’re not wrong.

Under full decriminalization, law enforcement would lack probable cause to enter these sites of suspected prostitution. Moreover, brothel owners would not be required to keep any records of the ages of individuals “working” inside, making it even harder for law enforcement to detect child exploitation.


Further Reading