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Politics and Government

Opponents of decriminalizing prostitution in NYS speak out

Karen DeWitt
At left, Shandra Woworuntu, CEO/founder of Mentari and survivor advocate, speaks Monday against decriminalizing prostitution at the state Capitol.

Opponents of bills to decriminalize prostitution in New York say it will only strengthen the worldwide sex trafficking industry and increase incidents of abuse in New York. Anti-sex trafficking groups and their allies spoke out at the state Capitol. 

Attorney Dorchen Leidholdt has represented hundreds of women who were abused by domestic violence and sex trafficking. She is co-chair of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

“We see levels of trauma, physical trauma and psychological trauma, that are off the charts,” said Leidholdt.

She said decriminalizing “pimping and sex buying” would increase the industry and demand in New York, and that “tens of thousands” of women could be exploited.

Supporters of the measures to end the crime of “loitering” for purposes of prostitution said the law is used to harass sex workers who are already marginalized in society.