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New York State Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Decriminalize Sex Work

Senator Ramos Introducing Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act (Twitter: @AMDanQuart)

June 10, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

A group of Democratic lawmakers, including State Senator Jessica Ramos and Assembly Member Catalina Cruz, introduced a bill Monday that aims to decriminalize sex work and make the consensual sale of sex legal.   

The bill, introduced in the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, would amend the penal code so that people can trade sex in spaces where legal businesses are permitted.

People engaging in human trafficking, coercion, rape, assault, battery and sexual harassment would still be charged with felonies.

State Senator Jessica Ramos said the bill, titled Stop Violence in the Sex Trades Act, will protect many of her constitutents, since a sizeable number are involved in sex work for economic reasons.

“Decriminalizing sex work between consenting adults in New York will protect many of my neighbors — people who have found themselves in situations because of employment and housing discrimination,” Ramos, who co-sponsored the bill, said. “Sex work is work and everyone has an inherent right to a safe workplace.”

Prostitution is currently treated as a misdemeanor in New York and is punishable by up to three months in jail and $500 fine.

The bill would also provide sex workers and trafficking survivors with the ability to clear their criminal records for crimes that would be decriminalilzed by this legislation.

The legislation would also change the currently gendered penal code language to reflect the different gender identities of the LGBTQ community who participate in the sex trade as well.

The introduction of the bill comes after a February rally for the cause hosted by Ramos, along with Decrim NY, a sex workers’ rights coalition pushing for the legislation.

The bill is unlikely to pass this legislative session, despite significant democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature. Ramos’ office said that the topic will require a lot of discussion to get legislators to sign on.

Decrim NY released results of a national poll that showed that progressive Democratic voters were mostly in favor of the legislation with 56 percent in support, 17 percent in opposition, and the remaining 27 percent being either neutral or unsure.

Other sponsors of this bill include Senate Women’s Health Committee Chair Julia Salazar, Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried, and Assembly Asian Pacific American Task Force Co-Chair Yuh-Line Niou. Bill co-sponsors also include Assembly members Dan Quart and Ron Kim.


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tax them and imma need receipts,. They must file for taxes. Would this be a tax write off like a form of therapy?

Why should they pay more taxes than the President?

Not paying taxes “makes him smart” and the same goes for prostitutes. Do you hate smart people?

Joe juliano

“The legislation would also change the currently gendered penal code language to reflect the different gender identities of the LGBTQ community who participate in the sex trade as well.” So what happens if I want to buy pizza but instead I get a hot dog ?

Night worker

They should have a union too, same for drug dealers sometimes I feel bad for these guys pushing drugs at night sometimes in severe cold weather lets make it safe. Ramos for president!

JH Monger

Finally some great news! This will save me some trips to Colombia, Brazil, and Amsterdam. I love Ramos!

Mr. Achilles

“Sex work is work and everyone has an inherent right to a safe workplace.”

Sex work does not involve the same action-types that preparing a Filet-O-Fish, or ripping tickets as a movie theater usher does, and the above ignores this distinction.

Consider public secondary and higher education. High school guidance counselors and college academic advisors do not present the option to become a sex worker or even a stripper neutrally, as if these choices can be compared by their pros and cons to others, such as the choice to become a bank teller, or cardiac surgeon.

If sex work is an option that many choose for, as Ramos claims, “economic reasons,” then the poverty that so limits a persons choices and actions leads to violations of human dignity.


This will be very interesting if it happens, considering it is also coming at a time when drugs are being legalized as well. Both of them speak to a trend of a future that is not, where as jobs decline, peddling in chemicals and activities that numb the mind and soul to the painful reality around men will become more common. It is the call of a Huxleyan future, where in the novel people overdosed on “Soma” and indulged in “orgy porgys”, but in real life would be smoking weed before buying hookers, both resulting in the destruction of one’s own identity as a human being.

The trend is a lot bigger than sex. Its about the passing of an era, and the final destruction of the “old” ways of life in a new human revolution that will not be for the betterment of man, but for his destruction and enslavement.


There are others priorities in the community that need to be addressed.
Please get to know the community and get better ideas of what we need it. Knowing that this bill will never passed.

JH Watcher

I agree with legalizing prostitution in order to keep the criminals out of the business, but as long as the trade is done in a Red Light District (like in Amsterdam). It could be a major tourist attraction.

Amazon Sex Prime

Build it in Long Island City where Amazon was supposed to be. Next to the luxury condos.

Gardens Watcher

The geography of Amsterdam made it easy to segregate the Red Light District from the rest of the city. If you think that kind of window shopping for sex would be contained to a small area in NYC (like Jackson Heights or Times Square), you’re dreaming.

Sunnyside Moms are “outraged” about vulgar graffiti spray painted in the bike lanes this week (f—- the bike lanes). JVB was upset the children had to see that and dispatched two police officers to paint it over. Just wait until the hookers and sex workers posing in storefronts hit Skillman Ave.! What to do then Jimmy?

No thanks Ramos. And no way Cabán either.

The red light district in Amsterdam has a HUGE problem with human trafficking

I guess being a “tourist attraction” makes up for that?


Get a grip on your lives dedicate your time on more important issues like the homeless!!!!

The Macho Man

great news , and if they could bring back the porn shops like the old Time square even better .
Time square in the 1970s and 1980’s classic.
Thank you Ramos & Cruz


What’s dangerous about it? Giving people who are in the sex trade the ability to be protected from abuse? Protecting minors from ending up in a sex trafficking ring? Giving medical care and STI prevention methods to people who need it? The thing you find dangerous is the way prostitution is currently running – under the table in back alleys with no protections. People are still going to do it, so why not make it safe and taxable??? Leave your preconceptions elsewhere.

Yeah who cares about trafficking victims

How do you solve the human trafficking that’s plagued every version of legal prostitution ever?


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