D.C. Buries Sex Trade Decriminalization Bill – For Now

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Salutes Survivors and Advocates Who Worked Tirelessly to Educate the D.C. Council on Sex Trade and the Harms of Full Decriminalization of Prostitution

sex trade

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Washington, D.C. – A bill under consideration by the Council of the District of Columbia to fully decriminalize the commercial sex trade (including acts of pimping, sex buying, and brothel keeping) “will not move forward” according to Charles Allen, chair of the DC Council Judiciary Committee, quoted Sunday in The Washington Post.

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The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) was emphatically opposed to the Orwellian-titled proposal, Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 (23-0318). NCOSE met with council members, staff, the mayor’s office, and other DC officials to inform and educate them on how the data and research show that sex trafficking and exploitation increase exponentially wherever the sex trade is normalized.

NCOSE helped mobilize opposition to the problematic bill at a decisive public hearing on October 17. As a result, Councilmember Anita Bonds, a bill cosponsor, told NPR she could no longer support decriminalizing sex buying based on opponents’ arguments.

Sex trade bill details

Four NCOSE staff members testified against full decriminalization based on subject matter expertise. NCOSE also provided unifying graphics (#ProtectSurvivorsNotBuyers; #FullDecrimHurtsEveryone); flew in a Reno-based expert on exploitation in Nevada’s legal brothel system; and brought to the hearing two teen-age survivors of sex trafficking in DC who have been relocated to another city.

DC should shrink the sex trade not legitimize it,” said NCOSE president Patrick Trueman. “Full decriminalization would endanger D.C.’s most vulnerable citizens while turning the city into a magnet for sex tourism and sex trafficking.” Trueman warned that this critical matter will come up again before the DC Council but NCOSE will continue to fight for the protection of sexually exploited people.


Learn more about the harms of fully decriminalizing prostitution at endsexualexploitation.org/NoAmnesty.

If you would like to schedule an interview, please contact Jake Roberson at (202) 393-7245 or press@ncose.com.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.



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Jacob Wolinsky
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