Senator Kamala Harris recently shared that she is in favor of decriminalizing prostitution and sex work.
According to Life Site News, the 2020 presidential hopeful said that despite her previous crack down on sex work when she was California’s Attorney General, she would like to see prostitution – between two consenting adults – decriminalized.
In an interview with The Roots, Harris noted that when she was a District Attorney in California some fifteen years ago, she was advocating for the prostitute and against the “johns” and “pimps.” Harris said, “I was advocating then that we had to stop arresting these prostitutes and instead go after the johns and the pimps.”
According to Life Site News, Harris supported two laws – 2017 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) – which tightened restrictions on those who willingly facilitate, support or assist in sex trafficking and on online sex trafficking.
In the recent interview, however, when asked if she believed sex work should be “decriminalized” Harris responded, “I think so. I do.”
Harris clarified why she supported the above-mentioned laws noting that, to her, there are distinct differences between which types of sex work should be legal and which types of sex work should not. Harris noted that in the case of consenting adults she believes prostitution should be legal. In situations where prostitutes are being exploited by others, however, Harris believes that should be punishable.
Harris said, “I think that we need to understand though that it is not as simple as that… there is an ecosystem around that that includes crimes that harm people, and for those issues, I do not believe that anybody who hurts another human being or profits off of their exploitation should be admonished or should be free of criminal prosecution.”
“When you are talking about consenting adults, I think that, you know... yes. We should really consider that we can’t criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed.”
Life Site News speculates that Harris made these comments to appease pro-prostitution activists who felt that by supporting SESTA and FOSTA, Harris was actually endangering sex workers more by pushing prostitution underground even further.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Mason Trinca/Stringer
Video courtesy: The Roots