Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work

Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — ObamaCare premiums dropping for 2020 | Warren, Buttigieg shift stances on 'Medicare for All' | Drug companies spend big on lobbying Mellman: Trumping peace and prosperity Tlaib to join Sanders at campaign rally in Detroit 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 Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — ObamaCare premiums dropping for 2020 | Warren, Buttigieg shift stances on 'Medicare for All' | Drug companies spend big on lobbying Mellman: Trumping peace and prosperity On The Money: Waters clashes with Trump officials over 'disastrous' housing finance plan | Dems jump into Trump turf war over student loans | House passes bill targeting anonymous shell companies 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 Devi HarrisSaagar Enjeti: Warren, Buttigieg don't stand a chance against Trump Warren overtakes Sanders in new poll The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump faces backlash for comparing impeachment to 'lynching' MORE (Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerProgressive commentator: Voters becoming weary of Warren policy proposals Saagar Enjeti: Warren, Buttigieg don't stand a chance against Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump faces backlash for comparing impeachment to 'lynching' MORE (N.J.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardHillary Clinton has said she'd consider 2020 race if she thought she could win: report Biden, Gabbard suffer hits to favorability after debate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Trump's impeachment plea to Republicans 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 BlasioTwo members of far-right 'Proud Boys' sentenced to prison for part in New York street brawl New York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates 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.