Petition launched in Oregon to decriminalize sex work

A philanthropist filed a petition to the Oregon Secretary of State's office on a law that will decriminalize sex work in the state, The Associated Press reported.

Chief petitioner Aaron Boonshoft filed the Sex Worker Rights Act on Tuesday. 

Organizers have said the Sex Worker Rights Act will end criminal penalties for those participating in consensual adult sex work, add health and safety protections and maintain laws against human trafficking, according to the AP. 

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Advocates have argued that state laws that criminalize sex work have made it difficult for sex workers to report rape, harassment and human trafficking to authorities. 

Sex workers often fear reporting those crimes could lead to their arrest, the AP reported. 

“Sex worker rights are human rights, and the denial of those rights enables human trafficking,” Boonshoft said. 

The filed petition comes as an attempt to address the issue before voters in the upcoming 2022 election, the AP reported. 

Sex Worker Rights Act campaign political director Anne Marie Backstrom said that sex workers deserve to do their jobs “without the fear of arrest or violence," the AP noted.

“Our current system is broken and harms sex workers,” Backstrom said. “Sex workers deserve to do their job without fear of arrest or violence, and, like all workers, they deserve access to healthcare, labor protections, and public services.”