On Wednesday, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced that his office would no longer be prosecuting prostitution and unlicensed massage arrests, and that it would be dropping 914 cases dating all the way back to the 1970s. The office also moved to dismiss more than 5,000 loitering for the purpose of prostitution cases, which stem from the highly controversial “walking while trans” statute, which was repealed last February.
In a statement, Vance, who recently announced that he would not be running for reelection, said that his office had come to the decision not to prosecute prostitution cases as a result of discussions with sex worker rights’ advocacy groups.
“Over the last decade we’ve learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers,” he said, adding that by dismissing cases and erasing past convictions, “we are completing a paradigm shift in our approach” to sex work.
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