Sex workers’ rights advocates are celebrating Julia Salazar’s win in New York’s  Democratic primary for a state Senate seat on Thursday, saying that they have an ally in the 27-year-old Democratic Socialist.

Salazar included the decriminalization of sex work in her campaign platform. Her platform included plans to stop massage parlor raids and unnecessary “loitering” arrests that predominantly affect women of color. No other politicians, including any in the Democratic party, have made sex workers’ rights such an integral part of their policy.

“Julia is the first ever vocal advocate for sex workers’ rights to run on the issue and win,” Lola Balcon, a community organizer for sex workers’ rights, told HuffPost on Friday. “That’s so big for us,” she said. “It shows that voters in New York are ready to talk about this issue.”

Sex workers have historically not trusted politicians, especially Democrats who boast progressive policy ― like calling for affordable health care, reforming the criminal justice system, and legalizing marijuana ― but who continually leave sex workers out of it. Salazar’s background in community organizing with the Democratic Socialists of America set her apart from veteran state Sen. Martin Dilan, who she defeated in the primary. To many sex workers, she represents what a progressive candidate can truly look like.

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Sex Worker Activists support Democratic Socialist Julia Salazar’s Primary Win by Jenavieve Hatch

Sept. 14th, 2018