Sex Trafficking

Andrew Yang Is Wrong About Prostitution

The Democratic presidential candidate wants to keep prostitution customers criminalized while "decriminalizing sex work on the part of the seller."


Entrepreneur and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said Sunday that "we should consider decriminalizing sex work on the part of the seller," as this would be "helpful in combating human trafficking." Presumably, Yang is talking about prostitution—the form of sex work that is illegal in the U.S. even when all parties involved are consenting adults.

Sex workers, human rights organizations, and criminal justice reformers around the world have been fighting to decriminalize prostitution in places where it remains illegal or where restrictions on legal prostitution are so intense that most sex workers end up criminalized anyway. These activists argue—with both a lot of data and a lot of personal experiences on their side—that relegating prostitution to the black market only puts the people involved in more danger and allows more abuses to be perpetrated against them. The only way to truly protect sex workers and cut down on coercive, forced, or underage prostitution (a.k.a. "sex trafficking") is "rights, not rescue," as one popular rallying cry goes.

Lately, a coalition of old-school moral crusaders (includings both the Christian right and certain retrograde feminists) has taken to co-opting the language of the sex worker rights movement to push their anti-sex work agenda. This means many of them say they are for prostitution "decriminalization" while still pushing to keep prostitution between consenting adults as a crime.

They get away with this linguistic malpractice by saying that they would decriminalize the act of offering paid sex as long as it is still illegal to purchase such services.

Obviously, this is not decriminalization within any normal meaning of the word.

Yang's preferred model would still mean devoting law enforcement resources to catching people attempting to pay for sex—and that would mean monitoring and conducting stings on sex workers. Sex workers would still be unable to advertise openly, to band together for safer working conditions, or to screen clients in an efficient manner, among other things that could actually "be helpful in combating human trafficking" and sexual violence.

Yes, sex workers would, under select circumstances, be able to avoid arrest and jail. But their business would remain in the black market, nullifying almost any practical benefits of decriminalization.

This bad idea has taken root in centrist political circles as calls for decriminalizing prostitution grow louder and sex worker rights becomes more of a mainstream issue. Endorsing this asymmetric criminalization model—which has gone through a slew of rebrandings and is known variously as the Swedish Model, the Nordic Model, the Equality Model, and End Demand—lets politicians, particularly Democrats, pay lip service to sex worker concerns while still appeasing those convinced that the U.S. is in the midst of a "human trafficking epidemic."

When she was running for president, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) repeatedly said she was for decriminalization while still talking about the need to arrest "johns" (that is, prostitutes' customers). Now Yang is taking up this banner.

Proponents of partial criminalization tend to frame it as a feminist and sex-worker-friendly solution. But consider that a large majority of sex workers are women and their customers men, a breakdown that grows even more pronounced in police and political discourse on prostitution, where "sellers" and "buyers" are basically always gendered as female and male, respectively. That gives you a frame in which men and women can participate in the same consensual sexual exchange, with the men criminalized for their participation and the women not. This so-called "Equality Model" considers adult women's sexual consent as it does that of children: invalid.

Adults are rightfully barred from sexual activity with minors because we recognize that a child's consent to sex is not meaningful. (The child, of course, is not criminalized in this scenario.) Do we really want to apply the same standard to grown women? To consider them less than fully adult, lacking the full mental capacity to meaningfully consent?

Sex workers on Twitter have been telling Yang this.

"You are wrong in every way that it's possible to be wrong," tweeted the Seattle dominatrix Mistress Matisse. "Sexworkers want rights, not rescue."

"NO Andrew, you should not consider this," said another dom, Mistress Scarlet. "Sex workers do NOT want the Nordic/Swedish model. We do NOT want our clients arrested. Listen to US!!! We want full decriminalization of all adult consensual sex work!!" 

"You should consult with sex workers because the language here is all wrong. We want FULL decrim, not just for the seller, but the buyer too," wrote the writer, activist, and porn performer Sydney Leathers. "There's no situation where criminalizing clients is good for sex workers (& we're not all victims!)"

The comments like this go on and on.

Let's hope that Yang—who has built a reputation for outside-the-swamp thinking—will actually listen to what sex workers and their allies are telling him right now. Yang is right that "we should consider decriminalizing sex work," but not only "on the part of the seller." We should decriminalize sex work on the part of all parties involved so long as everyone is a consenting adult. Only by doing that do we have any chance of helping sex sellers who fall outside that category.

NEXT: Indian Prime Minister Modi's Useful Idiots in America Should Now Condemn Him

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  1. Who even cares, he won't be president, and this is all pretend land of people just saying things.

    1. Some people said some things.

    2. Exactly. Why should libertarians care about individual liberty? Can we get back to why the turd sandwich is so much better than the giant douche again?

      1. Because the turd sandwich is more environmentally friendly?

        1. But the giant douche was made of bio-derived materials. So it’s more green.

    3. Whether Yang becomes president is irrelevant regarding the issue. It matters because it could become a platform plank for the Democrat party. Besides, given Democrats winner by plurality rules, he might win the Dem nomination (they'd be smart to implement instant runoff voting or approval voting, but that also works against the party insiders picking the candidate and the political establishment doesn't want to go there - a libertarian might win because of the fighting between the Ds and Rs).

      1. Might become? It's already established law that underage girls who prostitute themselves will not be punished in California. So yeah. This has already happened.

    4. This guy is literally draped in the flag, or at least a scarf that looks like the flag.

      1. It's a backwards flag. The field is white and the stars are blue. Can't tell for sure but I think the stripes might be reversed, too (7 white and 6 red).

        Draping yourself in a flag would be tacky and offensive so I'm glad he didn't do that. I'm not sure a reverse flag is really that much better.

        1. It's the 'civil' or peacetime flag the conspiracy theorists prattle on about.

          It's a REALLY bad sign.

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    1. Oh, boy, have you picked the wrong thread.

  3. I read on Facebook that everyone's child is being scoped for trafficking in mall parking lots by perverts returning their shopping carts. How does Yang plan to combat this scourge?

    Also, where's my thousand bucks you deadbeat.

    1. The scourge of people reading Facebook definitely needs some attention.

  4. For as much stupid as Yang says, at least he's upfront and realistic about climate change. He actually understands that nuclear is literally our only option.

    Too bad his "solution" for automation is $12k/year in free giveaways. That's a joke of a policy.

    1. So $12k in carbon credits!


  5. Is this the Roundup under a different name?
    "Trump campaign tries to use impeachment for political advantage"
    "NEW YORK — Using stark “us versus them” language, President Trump and his re-election campaign have begun framing his impeachment not as a judgment on his conduct but as a referendum on how Democrats regard him and his supporters..."

    When your opponent offers to dig a hole and climb in it, you don't take the shovel away. You point out his stupidity to all and sundry.

    1. According to the labor theory of value, that would be exploitation.

    2. "Hateful Hitler clone Donald Trump used stark us vs. them rhetoric in opposing the perfectly reasonable attempt to punish him for his crimes against the people. What's with the us vs. them rhetoric, aren't we all one nation?"

  6. Apparently in the last “debate”, Yang said “I know what you’re thinking Anerica: how is he still on the stage?”. Not only is this kind of funny, but it shows he has more self-awareness than all the rest of those losers combined!

    In other news, Pete Buttplug apparently just got the endorsement of a couple hundred Obama admin deep-staters, which means Obama had to have given them the go-ahead. Bad news for poor unloved old Uncle Joe, but it does make me think that the people claiming Buttplug is a CIA agent might possibly be right.

    1. Pete is watching Obama speeches over and over - you can see it in his debate performances. He uses all the same language and pacing. Democrats are suckers for a good speech with soaring language, and as long as there is a "D" next to the politician's name, they won't bother to actually look into what his policies are.

      He's probably going to be the nominee, imo. I've been saying that for months and I still think its the most likely outcome.

      1. Yup. He's moderate enough to not turn off 90% of the country, isn't tainted by 30 years of swamp living so he doesn't have a pesky voting record for debate moderators to bring up, and is gay so he can get the grievance vote.

        1. He's running as a democrat; therefore he is NOT moderate.

          New/old joke: What do you call a moderate Democrat? A Republican.

          1. Should've specified: relatively moderate.

            He hasn't called for seizing the means of production (yet) so that makes him a "moderate" among his peers.

            1. Remember, fascists allow corporations to retain title to the means of production, they 'just' want the government to tell the corporations what to produce, where to sell it, and how much to charge.
              (hint: US healthcare)

          2. He’ll have trouble getting votes from black churchgoers.

            1. Pete will be the nominee, but he won't be President of the United States.

              1. No, he won't. To be the nominee he has to actually GET the votes of black people. Black evangelicals are far too numerous among the black primary electorate for Buttigieg to be the nominee. There's no way in hell a bunch of evangelicals are gonna vote for a gay guy. Not gonna happen.

                It's gonna be Biden, period.

                1. Democrats just assume all black people vote in a block and they vote Democrat regardless of who the Democrat is.

                  They're wrong of course, but that has never stopped them in the past and I don't see why they'd let it stop them now.

                  1. Remember the blue wall? They also think they have a black moat....filled with black voters whom they think are mindless robots.

  7. Andrew Yang Is Wrong About Prostitution


    It is funny that that Asian American is advocating Social Conservatism. I wonder how common that is among the Asian American population.

    1. I wouldn't call Yang's proposal "Social Conservatism" as social conservatives think prostitution should be illegal (and many think sex outside of marriage should also be illegal).

      This proposal to make sex work legal, but buying sex illegal, will have huge unintended consequences. Prostitutes will start blackmailing their johns or threaten to turn them in, which might be what you're thinking is social conservatism. Women who go out on "dates" may decide they don't like the guy and call the cops on him when he asks for sex after paying for the meal.

      That IMHO is at least as bad as laws that allow the government to arrest people who engage in transactions between consenting adults. And it allows people to use the government to harm others (all I have to do, is get someone to offer to compensate me for sex, perhaps just dinner, then I've got them by the balls if I have evidence to support it). It sure doesn't help honest sex workers, just the dishonest ones.

      1. "(and many think sex outside of marriage should also be illegal)"

        lol. OK. That's equivalent to saying "many libertarians think child prostitution should also be legal."

        Andrew Yang's proposal is already reality in Sweden btw, based on the Kvinnofrid law passed in 1999. It was pushed by feminists.

  8. The fix is in. It's either going to be Cousin Pete or Uncle Joe. They are the favored. The rest are too left, too crazy, or too rich. Now they may pick Lizzie as their VP. Which in Joe's case could make her president given his age.

  9. That comments Yang made about porn was so cringe. I wish he would stop pandering to conservative idiots.

  10. There is no Federal Law preventing sex work. If there were, brothels in Nevada would not be allowed to function.

    No, creating law at the Federal level is not the "fix" for sex workers. Do they **REALLY** want the Federal Government dictating where and how they operate? This of course will lead to further "refinement" by the State and local lawmakers.

    The approach should be for State/Local activism to decriminalize what two consenting adults do in private.

    1. What State/Local activism do you have in mind?

  11. Let's decriminalize drug dealers and punish the users.

    1. Drug users have the resolve to publicly speak up, demonstrate, participate in 'smoke outs' etc. Until our johns show the same courage, their sex buying is likely to remain illegal.

      1. Kill two bird with one stone, so to speak? Protest the illegality of prostitution and laws against indecent exposure? That's actually a good measure of how committed someone is to the libertarian philosophy. How would you feel about your neighbor fucking his wife on their front lawn?

        1. My neighbors wife is pretty hot, so ok.

          1. Yeah, I’m good with that too. Even the GILF....

            1. She might enjoy being watched.

              Seriously. Public intercourse is a well substantiated fetish.

              It's a mindset issue - vanilla members of the public see the word "prostitution" and instantly think drugged out street walkers. What they don't see are the true professionals - who refer to themselves as "companions" or "providers". There's a lot more of these than one might think.
              Do a twitter search for #companion or #gfe and #. Count the results.

              1. Post editor stripped out "your city name" after the last hashtag. Try it that way.

      2. Have you seen what a lot of the people that pay for sex look like? The second they step forward the public shaming won't end. Also, most would want actual relationships and most girls don't want to date the guy whose hooker collection is close to the size of his comic collection in both quantity and cost. The last thing that would benefit that situation is going public with it. The twitter movement to remove the negative stigma women have towards men that pay for sex isn't going to take off.

        Don't forget about the women. They should step forward too. The amount of women that don't want it known that they have sex for money is rather large and their silence isn't helping.

        1. "Have you seen what a lot of the people that pay for sex look like? "

          Donald Trump is very well turned out. Can't say I think much of his ideas about skin tone, but he'd make a great spokesperson for the rights of johns of both sexes. His friendship with the likes of Jeffrey Epstein show also his comfort in the world of pimping, too.

  12. "We should decriminalize sex work on the part of all parties involved so long as everyone is a consenting adult."

    Reason will have to do better than this. We have legalized and decriminalized pot because the pot smokers have demanded it. A few dominatrix workers will not be enough considering the millions of johns who remain silent on the issue and refuse to speak up for their rights to buy sex. Evidently, the social taboo around the issue is strong enough to prevent this.

    1. A few dominatrix workers will not be enough

      Then they aren’t doing their jobs right.

      1. Maybe a more dominant dominatrix will be able to rally our shy johns. I doubt it though, I suspect the shame and fear of consorting with prostitutes will still overwhelm their feelings of aggrieved rights.

  13. "You see sonny, back in my day, we had something called a.m. links. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get by. Now you'd be lucky to get a dram of alt text, let alone the good sarcastic stuff."

    1. That’s what happens when you put a woman in charge! No Links and lots of ads.

  14. they would decriminalize the act of offering paid sex as long as it is still illegal to purchase such services.

    Oh, FFS! Do these clowns even listen to themselves? "See, we believe in the First Amendment, since we're not making the act of offering paid sex hate speech!"

  15. Obviously, this is not decriminalization within any normal meaning of the word.

    A lot of democrats have their won definitions of words, including the word "is".
    Democrats think the two parties to a transaction are the seller and the government.

    1. OK, cute typo -
      'own' not 'won'

  16. "Adults are rightfully barred from sexual activity with minors because we recognize that a child's consent to sex is not meaningful. (The child, of course, is not criminalized in this scenario.) Do we really want to apply the same standard to grown women? To consider them less than fully adult, lacking the full mental capacity to meaningfully consent?"

    "Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."

    1. If they are old enough to change sex, they are old enough to have sex.

  17. Lately, a coalition of old-school moral crusaders (includings both the Christian right and certain retrograde feminists) progressives...

  18. So is Ashley Judd the "Christian Right" and Seth Meyers the "retrograde feminist" or do I have that backwards?

  19. Of course he does. Due to progressive politicians like Yang, in California it's legal for underage girls to sell themselves for sex. They will not be arrested nor prosecuted. It's like an amoral wonderland here.

  20. >>>decriminalize the act of offering paid sex

    protects the ho

    >>as long as it is still illegal to purchase such services

    Charlie Sheen defense. Pay *after service*, can say "paid to go away".

  21. You know who else is wrong?

    Charles Koch and Americans For Prosperity for defending censorious tech companies and protecting them from scrutiny when they're suppressing freedom of speech. Funny how Koch Industries seems to be all in on backing leftist causes lately, even when those leftist causes are looking to silence conservative and right-libertarian voices.

    1. You'd prefer the government do so?

      1. I'd prefer that if the government is going to treat them as a public forum, they stop Facebook and the rest of social media from censoring opinions the company owners don't agree with. And if they're going to treat them as a private entity able to choose its own content, they hold them accountable for when the content they publish exceeds Constitutional protections (e.g. defamation and libel).

        I object to tech companies being able to push a leftist political agenda by creating a special protected class for their views and their companies that conservative and libertarian outlets certainly don't get to enjoy.

        1. Also, I think it's time to call out the Koch enterprise for being a fraud perpetrated upon libertarians. They've taken a sharp leftward slant, particularly in their work with George Soros, and they're working with people who are dedicated to the destruction of this country and the personal, individual freedoms we enjoy.

          It might just be that Charles Koch is a fraud, or maybe he's just gone senile, but either way it's time to stop pretending that he's a friend of individual liberty.

          1. " They’ve taken a sharp leftward slant, particularly in their work with George Soros"

            Are you referring to this Quincy Institute of Responsible Statecraft? That was founded only this year and is dedicated to ending American policy of endless war. Charles has always been sound on the anti-war issue and it's good to see he's been able to enlist the money and energies of George who hasn't been nearly so sound.

            Also don't see why Trump would have anything but praise for such a move. His anti-war stance is not too shabby either, though I wouldn't want to put it to the test...

        2. "they hold them accountable for when the content they publish exceeds Constitutional protections "

          I think defamation and libel are civil matters and it's up to the victims to press suit against the libelers. It's not up to the government and I don't see any advantage in putting these civil issues in their hands. Your proposals would certainly benefit tort lawyers but might give publishers cold feet and err on the side of caution when it comes to controversial matters if only to avoid the possibility of punitive, politically motivated law suits.

          Don't rightists also benefit from these protections? Trump supporter Peter Thiel made millions investing in Facebook, that's the agenda that counts. Try taking this leftist agenda you fear so much to the bank some day.

  22. When she was running for president, Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) repeatedly said she was for decriminalization

    She whored herself into the Attorney General's office and then the U.S. Senate, so that makes sense.

    1. Is Kamala a "retrograde feminist" or the "Christian right"?

      1. False dichotomy.

  23. I’ll take hypocritical control freak for $2000.

  24. "The only way to truly protect sex workers and cut down on coercive, forced, or underage prostitution (a.k.a. "sex trafficking")"

    Just say "slavery."

  25. Unlike drugs, at least with sex you can give it away, you just can't sell it.

    1. Not without a priest or a bureaucrat...

  26. Andrew Yang's party of choice believes in murder, releasing perverts and criminals back in to the public, not prosecuting crime, condoning criminal acts and sanctuary enclaves for un-vetted illegals and telling YuuuuuuuuuG!!! Lies to practice their CYA programs....and they are willing to take from you your Inalienable rights to prove it to you....

  27. Too bad he isn't named Wang, that could be productive of all sorts of horrible racist and sexist jokes.

  28. Make it legal for prostitutes to carry concealed weapons to shoot their ornery customers. I guarantee the profession will become less dangerous overnight.

    1. Ooh, I think I saw that movie.

  29. Screw Yang. Was a backer of him and even attended one if his rallies, but he list me in the last debate when he played the race card because there wasn't enough diversity on stage. His prostitution stand only confirms how mainstream he really is.

  30. Prostitution is the combination of sex and money.

    Which offends him?

    1. What do you object to about ketchup ice cream - the ketchup or the ice cream?

  31. Excellent. All we need now is for this creep to shoot a serviceman at Pearl Harbor and try to make his getaway in one of Elon's electric buggies. That'll charm some voters...

  32. Wouldn’t demand For sex services skyrocket because there would be no disincentive to offer sex service, so it would become widely and commonly available. However since it’s already illegal to buy, risk would Actually decrease across the board because the Supply would increase but the consequences of being caught would remain roughly the same?

  33. should we tell yang that norway is dependent on exporting oil ? can someone please videotape the moment he learns that.

  34.  I will guide you right way how is dua for marriage working.

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