Say NO to fully decriminalizing the DC sex trade

Council of the District of Columbia
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004

Re: Bill 23–0318, the “Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019

Dear Council member:

We, the undersigned survivors of the sex trade, have collectively experienced hundreds of years of abuse, violence, objectification, and dehumanization in the sex trade. We know first-hand that prostitution is not a victimless crime and that most individuals involved in the sex trade are not there voluntarily and have experienced long term harm as a result of being bought and sold. We STRONGLY OPPOSE pending legislation to FULLY decriminalize the entire sex trade in DC, the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019.

This legislation decriminalizes the sex industry in DC, including sex buying, acts of pimping/procurement, and brothel owning. This measure will increase violence against women and children, regardless of their involvement in the sex trade, while greatly increasing instances of sex trafficking in the District.

Our voices MUST be heard in this discussion because we have lived the harm you want to make legal.

We support the decriminalization of people directly selling sex in prostitution. No one being prostituted in the sex trade should be arrested for prostitution regardless of whether trafficked or not. But Sex Buying/Patronizing, Pimping/Procurement, and Brothel Owning MUST remain illegal. That combination of laws is known as the Equality Model.

D.C.-based Courtney’s House is the only African American-led, survivor-led program serving male and female survivors ages 9–24 from Wards 1, 7 and 8. They report that virtually 100% of their survivors are found in houses or makeshift brothels and that 30% of their youth are trafficked by their families, sold out of their own homes. Given this devastating reality, we are horrified by the proposal to decriminalize informal brothels throughout the District. This, paired with the decriminalization of sex-buying, would surely fuel the trafficking and exploitation of countless other vulnerable groups.

We reject a society that leaves those exploited with hopelessness.

Policy should never be built on the backs of those enslaved, sending the message that it is acceptable to use their humanity for the pleasure of anyone with money because a privileged few decide to sell sex once they are adults and have options.

We stand with the DC survivor community in urging you to reject this harmful legislation. Our hope is that you will hear the voices of survivors in the District and beyond who have repeatedly said that prostitution is not empowering, it instead enables racial and gendered violence. Survivors across the nation are watching DC and counting on you.

Our Collective Voice Matters; Your Vote MUST BE NO.

Respectfully,

Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher
Survivor Leader, SPACE International U.S.A.-Member
Ambassador-At-Large, United Nations

A. D.

AA Copeland

Abbey Brooks-Derzay
Franciscan Peacemakers and the National Survivor Network

Adriana Sanchez
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services

AL

RAHAB

Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce

Othayonih Research

Alice
CEO Sister Survivors, Advocate Neighborhood Legal Services, Author

Alicia A Cohen
SAFE, Survivors United, Survivor Alliance, National Survivor Network

Alisa Bernard
The Organization for Prostitution Survivors

Allison Franklin
Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

Alyssa Romero
Free Our Girls

AM
My Life My Choice

Amelia West
Sister Survivors and Neighborhood Legal Services

Amy Andrews
Survivors Consultation Network

Amy Engle
Streetlight USA

Amy Smith

Angela Pratt
Free Outreach

Annie Lobert
Hookers For Jesus

April Baker

As

Aubree Alles
She Counts

Audra Doody
Living in Freedom Together, INC

Autumn Burris
Survivors for Solutions

Barbara Amaya
BASMARTGIRL

Barbie Robinson
Rfw

Beth Jacobs
Truckers Against Trafficking

BLS
Catholic Charities DIGNITY

Bree
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Brenda Myers Powell
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Brenda Stewart
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Brigette Robarge
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Brook Bello
More Too Life

C.H.
Survivor Leader

C.M.

CAA
Survivors of the Sex Trade

Carissa Phelps
Runaway Girl, Inc.

Chasity Rainwater
Redeemed Ministries

Cheri Crider
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Cherie Jimenez
EVA Center

Cheryl Ross
A_-21 out of Charlotte, NC

Christine Cesa
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Christine Stark
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Elizabeth Johnstone
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Eric Harris
Itvap. Indiana trafficking victim’s assistance program consultant/ lived experience speaker

Erik Gray
Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative, Queers Uniting to End Exploitation

Erin Wright
SHE Survivors for Hope by Empowerment

FH

Gabriela Lozano

Gina C

Gina Salazar
Asian Associations of Utah

Hannah B

Harmony Grillo
Treasures

Hazel Fasthorse
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HH

Iain Martin

J. C.
Not

Jacqueline Homan
Codecatenation, LLC

Jacquelynn Loos
Community Advocate Supervisor-REST, Co-Founder/Trainer-QUEE

Jade Richard
PDC

Janine Montgomery
Youth Trust Project

Jasmine Grace Marino
Bags of Hope Ministries

JB
2nd Chance Ministries

JB
CORRC

Jeanette Westbrook (MSSW)
SPACE International

Jennifer Tucker
Esteem Outreach/Life Center Tacoma

Jeri Moomaw
Innovations Human Trafficking Collaborative

Jerome Elam
Trafficking in America Task Force

Jessica Frazier
Straight Street Life Center Inc

Jessica Kay Halling
St. Jude’s Ranch for Children

Jessica L. Kim
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Jessica Sobolesky
Child kidnapping, trafficking and prosecution survivor

Jessika S
Survivor

Jewell Baraka

JHP

JM

John Price

Jolene Hollis

Josephine Feemster
Advocate

Joy
Survivor

JS

Julia Anderson
Survivor Leader; #iCan Project

Julie Shematz
Beauty From Ashes⢠Ministries

Kathi Hardy
Freedom From Exploitation, Inc.

Kathleen Mitchell
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Katrina Taylor
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Kayti Batya
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Kelly Dore
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Kimberly Lovett
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Kristen Tebow
Youth Trust Project

Kristina Jackson
Breaking Free

Kristy Childs
Veronica’s Voice

Kylee Gregg

Laura Wakeman
Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests

Laurin Crosson
Rockstarr Organization

Leslie King
Sacred Beginnings

LG

Linda Ellen

Lindsey Hass
South Carolina Human Trafficking Task Force

Lisa Hughes

Lisa L. Pous
Central Texas DMST Coalition, Central Texas Coalition,zero SurvivorsGEMs and RBI

Lorena Spencer

LP
Polaris

LP
Breaking Free

LS
NSN, The Hope Project

LS

LuAnn Goodyear
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Lucy Bloom
Veronica’s Voice

Lynne Stevens
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Marjorie Saylor
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Marlene Carson
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Mary Knight

Megan Lundstrom
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Melanie Thompson
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

Melinda Starrett
Florida Baptist Children’s Homes

Melody Soto

Michelle Gasper
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Mindy Best
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Misty Mckinney

MMG

Mw
Freedom Place

Nichole Burrell

Nicole Bell
Living In Freedom Together Inc

Nicole Niblett

Noel Gomez
Organization for Prostitution Survivors

Patricia Haven
Triumph Ministries

Penny Adrian

PMP

Poppy Romero
Rebecca Bender Elevate Academy

Rachel Lloyd
GEMS

Rachel Niemiec

Rachel Pointer
Independent Anti-trafficking Consultant

RachelAnn Baltazar
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services

Raquel Piscopo
Terry’s House

Rebecca Bender
Rebecca Bender Initiative

Rebekah Charleston
Valiant Hearts

Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher
SPACE International-USA

RG
1985

Robin Levasseur
NECAT

Robin Miller
Survivor/Advocate

RT

Ruth Rondon
Michigan Human Trafficking Health Advisory Board

Samantha Hardy
Bayside Christian Church

Sara Smith

Sarah Z
Courtney’s House and Polaris Project

Sarah Zalonis
Courtney’s House and Polaris Project

Shamere McKenzie
Sun Gate Foundation

Shandra Woworuntu
Mentari

Shanna Parker
Angels Go To Work

Shannon Martinez
shannonspeaks.org

Shawnee Love HHD, PhD
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Sheri Lopez
You Can’t Groom Me

Sherry Dooley
GEMS

SML

SS
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Stephanie Free

Stephanie Stansberry

Summer Carter
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Susan Munsey
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Street Outreach to Youth

Tamara Roberson

Tammy Bitanga
Hoʻōla Nā Pua

Tanya Street

Telisia Espinosa
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Teresa Forliti
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Teresa Meitl
Past

Teresa Tally
Rebecca Bender Initiative

Theresa Flores
The SOAP Project

Tia-janae Johnson
Fierce Freedom

Tiffany Vazquez
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services

Tina Dixon
Hookers for Jesus

Tina Frundt
Courtney’s House

Tom Jones
The H.O.P.E. Project (Healing, Outreach and Peer Empowerment)

Toni Lucas

Toshia H
CleanUP HT / SOAP Project

Trevor Masani

TS

Twana Lucas
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U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking

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Virginia Lawrence

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Clest

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4her North Dakota

Yvonne Hubbell
Shared Hope International

[Disclaimer: Initials are accepted for survivor safety]

World Without Exploitation

The movement to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation

World Without Exploitation

Written by

Creating a world where no one is bought, sold, or exploited.

World Without Exploitation

The movement to end human trafficking and sexual exploitation

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