Stop Profiling Transgender People and Low-Income Women
UPDATE July 31, 2022: The 2022 MA legislative session ended without moving this bill forward. GLAD will continue to advocate for legislation and policy that will mitigate the profiling of transgender and low-income women, as well as decriminalizing consensual sex work.
GLAD supports An Act to Stop Profiling Transgender People and Low-Income Women (S.992/H.1800), which would partially decriminalize sex work by removing “common night walkers” and “common streetwalkers” from Massachusetts general laws, and create limited amnesty for sex workers reporting a crime. This would be a critical step toward protecting vulnerable populations who are already subjected to profound stigma, discrimination, and marginalization in our society.
As GLAD’s AIDS Law Project Director and Senior Staff Attorney Bennett Klein explained in testimony delivered on June 15, 2021:
The “common night walkers” and “common streetwalkers” statute has been used disproportionately to profile and arrest low-income women and transgender women of color, including some who are engaged in consensual sex work as well as individuals who are stopped, searched, and arrested while simply walking the street and doing nothing illegal. The repeal of Chapter 272, § 53(a) is a vital first step to ending the harms that result from the criminalization of the consensual exchange of sex for money, including violence, increased HIV transmission and other health risks, and barriers to housing and employment. These bills will also enhance safety by creating the conditions for people who engage in sex work to report crimes, against them or others, without fear of prosecution… Laws criminalizing the consensual exchange of sex inflict profound harm on sex workers and our society. The repeal of these laws is long overdue.
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