According to Yahoo! News, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has decided it will no longer pursue criminal charges against sex workers.
“Over the last decade we’ve learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said Wednesday in a statement.
On top of that, the DA announced approximately 6,000 prostitution-related open cases would be dismissed, including 900 cases dating back to the 1970s, the news outlet reports.
“This resolute action to actively decriminalize sex workers is the kind of change our community has been hoping for, advocating for, for decades,” said Cecilia Gentili, founder of Transgender Equity Consulting. Gentili said the decision is “one of the most significant steps taken Nationally in the effort to stop criminalizing sex work.”
According to the 2015 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, transgender people, especially trans women of color, are more likely to engage in sex work. The survey found that 11 percent of transgender Americans reported having participated in sex work, including almost 40 percent of Black respondents and 33 percent of Latinos.
“For many transgender people, the sex trade can offer greater autonomy and financial stability compared to more traditional workplaces, with few barriers to entry,” the report read. “However, economic insecurity and material deprivation can increase one’s vulnerability to harm and decrease the ability to make self-determined choices.”