Lawmaker proposes studying whether to decriminalize sex work in Rhode Island

Photo by Lindsey Lerner

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A state lawmaker in Rhode Island has proposed creating a legislative commission to look at decriminalizing prostitution.

The House Judiciary Committee is currently considering the proposal by Democratic Rep. Anastasia Williams, of Providence.

She wants to create a special legislative commission to study the health and safety impact of revising commercial sexual activity laws, which would include looking at the impact of decriminalizing prostitution. The resolution states that criminalization of prostitution disproportionately impacts women, transgender people and people of color.

A group that advocates for sex workers, COYOTE, or Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics, endorsed the effort. It says decriminalization would improve the health and safety of sex workers in Rhode Island. Executive Director Bella Robinson discussed the bill with WPRO’s Matt Allen. Listen below:

Listen to “Bella Robinson – Executive Director COYOTE RI – Decriminalizing sex work” on Spreaker. 

If the commission is created, it would report its findings to the House of Representatives next year.

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