Tulsi Gabbard: C'mon, let's decriminalize prostitution

“If a consenting adult wants to engage in sex work, that is their right, and it should not be a crime,” Gabbard said. “All people should have autonomy over their bodies and their labor.“…

Gabbard’s unequivocal support for decriminalizing sex workers comes after she — and all the other 2020 Democratic candidates in Congress — voted for legislation last year that has been criticized by sex workers and activists. Known as SESTA/FOSTA, the law was promoted as a means to combat sex trafficking, but in practice it eradicated websites and other platforms where consenting sex workers meet clients. The law was assailed for endangering sex workers and stifling free speech. By shutting down platforms, activists said, workers lose the means to protect themselves by vetting clients and avoiding dangerous situations.

“That pushed more people to the street and caused more deaths and allowed clients to harm, and push the limits of, sex workers,” said Jill McCracken, codirector of the Sex Workers Outreach Project Behind Bars and a professor at the University of South Florida.