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Touro Law Review

Abstract

This paper makes a case for decriminalization of sex work in response to recent legislation restricting sex workers’ access to online platforms and to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a feminist economic lens, we summarize the current understanding of sex work markets and analyze how agency and stigma are affected by increasingly limited access to online platforms as well as by the social and economic restrictions of COVID-19. We analyze sex work from the point of view of the same labor economics that would be applied to any other industry, rather than as a romanticized or demonized group of sexual deviants, finding destigmatization of the sex work industry as central to the increased agency and well-being of sex workers and their clients.

This paper also employs the libertarian philosophy, according to which all acts should be legal except those that employ, or threaten, violence against innocent people. According to this perspective, murder, rape, theft, arson, kidnapping, and fraud, should be prohibited; but, everything else, certainly including sex work, should be decriminalized.

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