Sex trafficking survivors fight bill to decriminalize prostitution in nation's capital | 10/19/2019 | Staff
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Hundreds of sex-trafficking survivors are pushing back against a bill that would decriminalize prostitution, euphemistically called "sex work," in the nation's capital.

Letter - ABC - News - Month - Signatories

In a letter obtained by ABC News earlier this month that has over 200 signatories, many of whom were once prostituted and trafficked themselves, the Rev. Marian Hatcher stressed that decriminalizing prostitution endangers at-risk populations.

"We are horrified by the proposal to decriminalize informal brothels throughout the district. This, paired with the decriminalization of sex-buying, would surely fuel the trafficking and exploitation of countless other vulnerable groups," Hatcher wrote, urging the city council members to reject the proposal.

Hatcher - Trafficking - Survivor - Project - Manager

Hatcher, a trafficking survivor, is the senior project manager and human trafficking coordinator at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Chicago, Illinois, and has been featured in the Oprah Winfrey Network documentary, "Prostitution: Leaving the Life" and in the film, "I Am Jane Doe," among others.

Proponents of decriminalization, such as district councilman David Grosso who brought forward the proposal, maintain that removing criminal penalties from those in the trade will bring them "out of the shadows" and more easily connect them with services. Grosso's legislation is called the Community Health and Safety Act of 2019. Council member Charles Allen, D-Ward 6, is co-sponsoring the bill.

Mr - Grosso - Public - Proposal - Touch

“Mr. Grosso wants the public to believe that pimping won’t increase under his proposal, but it seems he is out of touch about the alarming issue of sex trafficking in Washington, D.C.,” said Felicia Henry of Courtney's House, a Washington-based organization that provides recovery services for domestically sex trafficked youth, WTOP reported on Thursday.

During a Thursday hearing at city hall emotions ran high as the majority of over 180 witnesses adamantly spoke out against the proposal.

Yasmin - Vafa - Attorney - Executive - Director

Yasmin Vafa, an attorney and executive director with Rights for Girls, is...
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