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Elizabeth Warren: ‘I’m Open to Decriminalization’ of Sex Work

On Wednesday, 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she is open to decriminalizing sex work if elected, as long as it does not “undermine” efforts to curb human trafficking.

“I’m open to decriminalization. Sex workers, like all workers, deserve autonomy but they are particularly vulnerable to physical and financial abuse and hardship,” Warren told the Washington Post‘s Dave Weigel. “We need to make sure that we don’t undermine legal protections for the most vulnerable, including the millions of individuals who are victims of human trafficking each year.”

The comments mark a stark change from Warren’s past views on sex work, as she voted in favor of the SESTA/FOSTA bill in 2018 that removed online platforms sex workers used to connect with clients. Opponents of the bill say it can harm sex workers by forcing them to wander the streets looking for clients instead pre-screening them prior to their meeting, while also arguing that victims of human trafficking are not helped by SESTA/FOSTA because it forces the industry deeper underground.

Warren also co-sponsored the 2017 End Banking for Human Traffickers Act — a bill that she worked on with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) but has not passed the Senate — which aims to shut down the bank accounts of potential human traffickers.

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Caleb Ecarma is a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma