Sen. Amy Klobuchar: ‘I Am Not in Favor of Decriminalizing Sex Work’

By Melanie Arter | October 11, 2019 | 2:37pm EDT
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images)

( – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Thursday that she is not in favor of decriminalizing sex worker, because she’s concerned about the effect it would have on young women and violence against women.

During CNN’s presidential town hall on LGBTQ equality, Klobuchar was asked, “So you co-sponsored the SESTA FOSTA Act, which made it harder for sex workers to protect themselves by vetting clients online and harder for law enforcement to track potential criminals who may harm, kidnap or kill sex workers.


“I'm the vice president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, which is the nation’s oldest LGBTQ feminist and progressive political group, and a lot of our constituents are current and former sex workers. Many of them are people of color. Many of them are trans. Many of them are undocumented immigrants,” said audience member Ryan Basham, an executive and career coach.

SESTA stands for Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, and FOSTA stands for Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017. The legislation was aimed at stopping online sex trafficking and provide justice for victims.

“So my question for you is, will you come out in favor of legalizing sex work, and what will you do to counteract the negative impact this law has had?” Basham asked.



“First of all, you may or may not know I've been a leader on human trafficking. I was actually the lead on the bill that included my provision for safe harbor. What that meant, of course, was that if you have sex trafficking, either domestic or internationally, that you have to have a safe harbor for young people who are victims, so that they're not prosecuted themselves,” Klobuchar said.

“So it is a form of what you're talking about, that they are not prosecuted, that instead, you go after the people that are perpetrating these rings, that are getting these kids hooked on drugs, that are drawing them in, that instead you should be giving them help, that you should be giving them a job and you should be helping them with school, and you should be giving them a home and a place to live so they don't go back into the cycle again,” she said.

“So I am not in favor of decriminalizing all of sex work. I'm concerned about the effect that’s gonna have on young women and violence against women, but I'd love to talk with you afterwards if you have a few minutes so we can talk it through, and let’s see how we can find common ground going forward,” the senator said.


MRC Store