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Decriminalization of Prostitution in Illinois Proposed; the legislator is shocked by this idea

Decriminalization of Prostitution in Illinois Proposed;  the legislator is shocked by this idea

(The Center Square) – Prostitution is illegal in all states except certain areas of Nevada. Illinois lawmakers and LGBTQ rights advocates pushed the state to decriminalize prostitution during a news conference Wednesday.

Reyna Ortiz, an Equality Illinois board member and former sex worker, said the criminalization of adults consensually engaging in sex work is what makes the work so dangerous.

“Like anyone else who goes to work, it is important to be safe and feel protected by the law. Decriminalizing sex work ensures the safety of adults who engage in consensual sex,” Ortiz said. “Sex workers should no longer be forced into the obscurity of this society. Our hope is that no matter how you feel about sex work, you share our belief that no sex worker should be assaulted, victimized or killed simply for engaging in adult consensual sex work, the oldest profession in the world. Decriminalization finally gives security and bodily autonomy to adults who commit consensually.

At the press conference, advocates pointed out that LGBTQ people die disproportionately in this industry. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 32 transgender and gender-expansive people were killed and most of these homicide victims were killed by “Johns” or pimps.

State Rep. John Cabello, a detective with the Rockford Police Department, said it’s not the criminalization of prostitution that makes the work dangerous, but rather the lifestyle itself.

“It’s the drugs, the lifestyle and the pimps. This has nothing to do with current law,” Cabello said. “If that’s the case, why aren’t more people getting beat up because of all the other laws in place? It’s like some people in this state want to get to where we have no penalties for anything you do wrong.

Cabello said many prostitutes use sex work to financially support their drug addiction.

“Are we saying, ‘Yeah, OK, go ahead, go do what you want to do.’ I’m shocked,” Cabello said.

He said “Johns” and pimps often beat prostitutes. Pimps tend to beat prostitutes more. Cabello raised questions such as: Under this bill, will they require an application process for the ‘Johns? Are we going to allow brothels?

“I guess the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) would be strictly opposed to this… because they don’t want law enforcement doing background checks on people, so why would they allow private industries to do background checks on people? backgrounds of people,” Cabello said. . “It’s all just a pipe dream and they’re saying, ‘oh, it’s going to be just fine.’ No it is not.”

No bills have been introduced yet, said Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. The association’s objective is to find the “right time” to present a bill. Equality Illinois’ highest priority is to decriminalize sex work. Johnson suggested that yet-to-be-introduced legislation would look at sex workers in partnership with police. Johnson also suggested it would allow sex workers to control their clients.

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Equality Illinois wants to decriminalize prostitution, “so that sex workers can fully vet their clients and meet them in locations of their choosing, where they (sex workers) can partner with the police if they want to keep themselves safe . So that we are not using taxpayer dollars taken from kitchen tables and homes across Illinois to prosecute people engaged in consensual adult sex,” Johnson said.

Cabello said he couldn’t believe there was even a press conference on decriminalizing sex work.