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Our Testimony to D.C. Council on Prostitution Bill


A few days ago the D.C. Council held a hearing to help decide whether or not they’ll pass the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, a deceptively named bill that would fully decriminalize the sex trade in that city. This would include not only the sale of sex, but buying sex, pimping, and brothel-keeping.

During this very long day, the council listened to testimonies from the pro “sex work” side as well as from our friends in the abolition movement, including prostitution survivors. It was a day of highs and lows, as bold advocates shared compelling insight on why full decriminalization would be disastrous, juxtaposed by misguided statements by those who think decriminalization would somehow help those who are prostituted.

Our own Director of Intervention and Outreach, Helen Taylor, gave the very last testimony of the day—an eloquent, impassioned plea that the city not pass this bill. Watch her testimony below.

Our friends at National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) described the council’s response to the testimony of abolitionists:

“Their words fell on deaf ears as the bill’s lead sponsor, Councilmember David Grosso, showed raw disdain for opponents of his bill. Councilmember Charles Allen, chairman of the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee, was slightly more polite but still made clear that in his view ‘sex work is work.'”

It’s worth noting that Grosso even believes minors can consent to participation in the sex trade, as outrageous as this may seem.

Meanwhile, history and the facts clearly favor the Abolition Model of law.

We were honored to testify alongside abolition groups like Awaken Reno, Children’s Law Center, Children’s National Hospital, Courtney’s House, Demand Abolition, Exodus Cry, the Family Research Council, My Life My Choice, NCOSE, the National Organization of Women (NOW), Polaris Project, Rights4Girls, The Salvation Army, the U.S. Human Trafficking Institute, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office and many others.

RELATED: The Sex Industry Wants to Keep You Confused About This

This fight isn’t over yet. Here are some ways you can help (as recommended by NCOSE):

  • If you are a D.C. resident, contact your D.C. City Councilmember and ask them to oppose this bill (D.C. Bill 23-0318 a.k.a The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019).
  • If you have friends or family in D.C., call them, talk to them, and ask them to oppose this bill (D.C. Bill 23-0318 a.k.a The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019).
  • Call your member of Congress. Tell them you don’t want the nation’s capital turned into a global sex tourist destination.
  • If you have expertise in child development, child protection, sexual assault prevention, anti-trafficking, or related fields, submit written testimony to the D.C. City Council. The deadline to submit testimony is November 1.
  • If you are active on social media, please use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to speak out and raise the alarm. Use the hashtags #DCDecrim, #Stop318DC, and #ProtectSurvivorsNOTBuyers when you do.

Please continue to stand with us in fighting this bill!