A bill aiming at decriminalizing commercial sexual exchanges between adults in the District of Columbia has died for the time being.
According to a report by The Washington Post, the bill’s decease was the outcome of a 14-hour-long hearing held by the D.C. Council.
The emotional hearing uncovered a lack of enough support from D.C. residents for the regulation via thousands of emails expressing concerns.
On October 17, a public hearing took place at the D.C. Council, where most of the attendees objected to the proposal.
D.C. Council member David Grosso, who wrote the bill titled Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019, said in his opening statement at the previous hearing that he listened to individuals directly affected by the issue and he concluded that “criminalization and stigma cause tremendous harm to people in the sex trade.”
“The challenges facing these members of our community are many: I have heard far too many stories of violence, including stabbings, beatings, shootings, rapes, and murder, all because the perpetrators think they can act with impunity against those in the sex trade,” the Council member said.
Grosso stated that criminalization of prostitution would not stop the activity itself, but rather encourage the harms by further marginalizing people, as they are branded as “criminals” by the society and become targets for violence.
Grosso argued that the bill should be voted. He claimed that the bill was undermined by Chairman Phil Mendelson, who has been against the bill since its first version was proposed two years ago.