In an effort to curb sex trafficking, Mexico City has moved to decriminalize sex work. Lawmakers in the city’s congress unanimously approved a bill Friday that will no longer allow sex workers or their clients to be arrested or fined, Reuters was among the first to report.

According to Reuters, Mexico City lawmakers voted 38-0 with eight abstentions to pass a bill that amends the Civic Culture Law to remove language that sanctions criminal punishments of fines and jail time against sex workers and their clients in cases where neighbors file complaints. Lawmakers are reportedly hoping the bill will help crack down on sex trafficking in the city.

“It’s a first step that has to lead to regulation of sex work, to fight human trafficking and strengthen the rights of sex workers,” Temistocles Villanueva, a Mexico City lawmaker from the ruling center-left Morena party, said of the bill, per Reuters. “Exercising sexuality in our country is still a taboo topic that few of us dare to talk about.”

A 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. State Department listed Mexico as a Tier 2 country, meaning it “does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” but “is making significant efforts to do so.” According to the State Department, “Mexico is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.” The agency noted that “Mexican women and children, and to a lesser extent men and transgender individuals, are exploited in sex trafficking in Mexico and the United States.”

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Mexico City moves to decriminalize Sex Work in an effort to end sex trafficking by Morgan Brinlee

June 1st, 2019