Sex Workers at Risk Under New Prosecution Strategy, Advocates Say

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In May, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced her war on human trafficking with the creation of the Human Trafficking Bureau. The new group empowers law enforcement to crack down on sex and labor trafficking by prosecuting traffickers and people paying for sex as well as connecting sex workers with resources to “escape” the industry. The new unit will be staffed by a team of assistant district attorneys, social workers, detectives and analysts.

Although promoted by Katz as a fulfillment of her campaign promise to end the criminalization of sex work and concentrate her efforts on traffickers, advocates believe the new bureau will continue the cycle of criminalizing sex workers, particularly immigrant and trans sex workers, increasing policing in predominantly immigrant communities as well as pushing the sex industry further into the shadows.

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