Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work

Bernie Sanders open to decriminalizing sex work
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' 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 WarrenJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall 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 HarrisWhat to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Biden compares Trump to George Wallace CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE (Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE (N.J.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBiden slams Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, backs protesters Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall 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 BlasioDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash 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.