An Act to Strengthen Justice
and Support for Sex Trade Survivors
What Is It?
The law is based on the Equality Model, also called the Nordic Model. The Equality Model takes a multi-faceted approach to address prostitution and sexual exploitation broadly, including by decriminalizing prostitution for those prostituted, decreasing demand by maintaining penalties against buyers and those deriving financial benefits from the exploitation of others, supporting exit programming, and promoting prevention and educational initiatives.
Decriminalizes People in Prostitution
- Decriminalize common night walking, common street walking, and sex for a fee for the person being prostituted (not for the buyer)
Advances Criminal Justice Reform
- Provide for automatic expungement of existing offenses for common night walking, common street walking, and sex for a fee (all of which are currently eligible for vacatur)
Establishes Interagency Committee
- Create an interagency committee within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to address prostitution from a comprehensive lens, including representatives from various agencies and organizations representing healthcare, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and refugees, housing, mental health, the Attorney General’s office, and the Department of Children and Families, with a mandate to identify causes of and solutions to prostitution and related issues, coordinate prevention, education, and awareness campaigns, address long-term housing needs and employment needs, assist existing organizations, look at the role of substance use disorder and other underlying and related problems, coordinate the allocation of resources, and make recommendations
Why is this approach uniquely impactful? The Equality Model addresses structures of violence, incorporates transformative justice, and breaks cycles of oppression.
Women and girls of color and/or low income backgrounds and LGBTQ+ youth are disproportionately impacted by the sex trade. Up to 84% of prostituted women and girls are also survivors of childhood sexual abuse, according to multiple studies.
Sexual exploitation is primarily a crime of gender-based violence. In a two year review of suspected incidents of exploitation across the country, 94% were female and 64% were women of color, with trans individuals, LGBTQ+ youth, immigrants, and indigenous women disproportionately vulnerable.
The EVA Center, a Boston-based exit program, reports that of the people they support, over 50% have been systems involved and aged out of DCF without housing or employment options, and 30% of that group are young moms whose children end up going back into the very systems they aged out of.
We support anyone impacted by the sex trade; this includes people who identify as sex workers. We challenge the notion that the sex trade can be a safe and unexploitive industry. Data shows that full decriminalization and/or legalization of prostitution leads to an increase in exploitation of vulnerable populations because the “supply” does not meet the buyer demand. The EMMA Coalition advocates for solutions that support and protect the greatest number of people, and this legislation will measurably improve outcomes for people impacted by the sex trade immediately.
To learn about our legislative endorsements, please visit our Endorsers page here.