Sex work is illegal in much of the United States, but the debate over whether it should be decriminalized is heating up.

Former California Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing it, as long as it’s between two consenting adults.

The debate is hardly new — and it’s fraught with emotions. Opponents of decriminalization say it’s an exploitative industry that preys on the weak. But many activists and academics say decriminalization would help protect sex workers, and would even be a public health benefit.

RJ Thompson wants to push back against the idea that sex work is inherently victimizing. He says for him it was liberating: Thompson had recently graduated from law school and started working at a nonprofit when the recession hit. In 2008, he got laid off with no warning and no severance, and he had massive student loan debt.

Thompson became an escort. “I made exponentially more money than I ever could have in my legal profession,” he says.

 

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Should Sex Work Be Decriminalized? Some Activists Say It’s Time by Jasmine Garsd

March 22nd, 2019