Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work

Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Hispanic Caucus lawmaker won't attend meeting with VP Harris's new aide The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE (I) would consider decriminalizing sex work if elected in 2020.

"Bernie believes that decriminalization is certainly something that should be considered," Sanders's deputy communications director Sarah Ford told Vice News in a statement on Thursday.

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"Other countries have done this and it has shown to make the lives of sex workers safer,” she continued.

The statement from the Sanders campaign comes less than a day after fellow 2020 hopeful Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances MORE (D-Mass.) said she would also be open to decriminalizing sex work. 

“I’m open to decriminalization. Sex workers, like all workers, deserve autonomy but they are particularly vulnerable to physical and financial abuse and hardship,” Warren said on Wednesday. 

“We need to make sure that we don’t undermine legal protections for the most vulnerable, including the millions of individuals who are victims of human trafficking each year."

A number of other Democratic presidential candidates have also indicated support for decriminalizing sex work, including Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' Voting rights is a constitutional right: Failure is not an option Left laughs off floated changes to 2024 ticket MORE (Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerCNN legal analyst knocks GOP senator over remark on Biden nominee Barnes rakes in almost 0K after Johnson enters Wisconsin Senate race Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two MORE (N.J.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe perfect Democratic running mate for DeSantis? Progressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition MORE (Hawaii) and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

Harris expressed support for sex work decriminalization in an interview back in February, in which she also noted that "we can't criminalize consensual behavior as long as no one is being harmed."

However, other Democratic candidates have argued sex work should remain criminalized.

New York City mayor and presidential hopeful Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioWatershed moment in NYC: New law allows noncitizens to vote Hochul calls for permanent legal to-go cocktails in NY Andy Cohen blasts de Blasio during Times Square NYE MORE said in April that he is “not comfortable” with the idea of decriminalizing sex work.

“I think we have a very troubling dynamic out there and we need to keep the legal status it has now,” he said.