Sex work would be broadly legalized in New York state under a first-of-its-kind bill introduced by state legislators on Monday.
The bill, written with advocacy group DecrimNY, would make it legal to both buy and sell sex under certain circumstances and modifies laws around facilities that are used as places of prostitution.
"For us, this is a bodily autonomy issue — our bodies, our choice — but more than that, it’s an economic issue. And it’s personal," Jessica Raven, one of Decrim NY's organizers, wrote in a Daily News op-ed Monday.
Two of the bill's sponsors, state senators Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar, have said that 9 out of 10 people arrested in sex-work-related massage parlor raids are immigrants, with most being undocumented Asians.
LGBTQ youth, who often run away from home seeking acceptance, trade sex at 7 to 8 times the rate of other youth in New York City, Ramos and Salazar say.
A companion bill was also introduced in the Assembly on Monday, with five sponsors.
Nevada is right now the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal in some counties.