The Oregon Sex Workers Human Rights Commission held a public hearing Thursday, July 15, 2021, to talk about the decriminalization of sex work and why it will protect sex workers from violence, decrease health risks and help to protect BIPOC and transgender communities. To access the full “Report on the State of Sex Worker Rights” click here.
The Commission featured testimony from a panel of a dozen experts, as well as testimony from dozens of past and current sex workers, advocates, and allies. Many of them chose to keep their identities anonymous because, despite choosing to do this work consensually, buying or selling sex is a class A misdemeanor in Oregon, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,250 (penalties are steeper if a person compels or promotes sex work, or if it involves a minor).
“Decades of research unequivocally shows that criminalization only makes sex workers less safe, contributing to violence, poor health outcomes, banking and housing discrimination, stigma. And driving exploitative third parties underground only makes catching them harder, and more expensive,” From the testimony of Dr. Angela Jones, Farmingdale State College.
“It does mean the most marginalized members of our society, who are criminalized simply for their existence, are not discriminated against simply for trying to survive,” From the testimony of Vanessa Warri, Trans Advocate.
“You don’t know how many people out there just need to be touched, need to be connected with another person, Just the way therapists help people, sex workers are helping people. They’re stopping a lot of people from breaking; they really are.” From the testimony of Nicole Gilliland.