Decriminalize Sex Work

Sex work is the consensual exchange of sex between adults for a fee. Criminalizing adult, voluntary, and consensual sex, which includes the commercial exchange of sexual services, is not compatible with the human right to personal autonomy and privacy. The government should not be telling consenting adults who they can have sexual relations with and the terms associated. Sex work is work.

Criminalization of sex work exposes sex workers to abuse and exploitation by law enforcement officials, such as police officers. Human Rights Watch documented that police officers harass sex workers, extort bribes, physically and verbally abuse sex workers, and have even forced or coerced sex from them in criminalized environments.

The Sherman Administration will decriminalize sex work federally. This will de-stigmatize this work and remove criminal charges. It will also maximize sex workers’ legal protection and their ability to exercise other key rights. These rights include justice and health care. Legal recognition of sex workers and their occupation maximizes their safety, dignity, and equality. Decriminalizing this work reduces risk for the person engaged in sex work.

Studies confirmed the Adult & Pornographic Websites industry is worth $1.1 Billion in 2022. Sex work in the United States is estimated to generate $14 billion per year. Lyon County in Nevada receives approximately $400,000 to $500,000 per year from these taxes. By legitimizing this work, this money will be added to the economy and prevent people from falling through the cracks.

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children are separate issues. They are both serious human rights abuses and crimes. Any allegation of either of these should always be investigated and prosecuted. Laws that clearly distinguish between sex work and crimes, such as human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, help protect both sex workers and crime victims.


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