Members of House Sex Work Commission critical of both process and final report
“AmnestyPVD supports the conclusion of the committee that sex work should be decriminalized, however, we ask that a new commission with locally-affected persons be convened in 2024…”
Three groups that were part of a Rhode Island House of Representatives Sex Work Study Commission have issued a statement calling into question the commission’s final report. In essence, argues AmnestyPVD, The Womxn Project and COYOTE RI, the commission failed to include the voices of the very people affected by the issues the study commission was seeking to understand.
The statement reads:
AmnestyPVD has concerns about the recommendations from the study commission known as the Legislative Commission To Study Ensuring Racial Equity And Optimizing Health And Safety Laws Affecting Marginalized Individuals convened via a 2021 resolution, H5250.
The inaccuracy of the findings emerging in late May from the committee include claims that the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office does not prosecute sex workers. This is patently false as numerous public records documents suggest otherwise. This has been widely documented in CoyoteRI’s Report in the following cases from 2020 to 2022: K2-2022-0182A, P2-2020-2247A, P2-2022-0537A, 32-2021-05366, and 32-2021-04965. It is important that the report provides accurate information to policymakers.
Moreover, while CoyoteRI submitted recommendations to the commission in early May 2023, they were never read or considered and were not incorporated into the draft shared with the commissioners on May 22, 2023. It is vital that locally affected persons, in this case, organized criminalized sex workers represented by CoyoteRI, play a central role in drafting policy that impacts them. The policy recommendations released by the commission were not collectively drafted or approved and no consensus or vote was sought. (Draft Final Report Marginalized Individuals Commission May 22, 2023- RAM Clean – 5.18.23)
AmnestyPVD supports the conclusion of the committee that sex work should be decriminalized, however, we ask that a new commission with locally-affected persons be convened in 2024 to provide recommendations for how these protections will materialize. We ask that the Rhode Island House of Representatives reconvene the commission in 2024 with members who are affected, criminalized sex workers of Rhode Island and that anyone receiving outside interest monies be disqualified from serving as a commissioner as well as sex workers that do not live and work in Rhode Island. Such a committee of affected persons would be better able to vet the recommendations and their impact on their security and livelihood within our state.
You can read about the final meeting of the study commission here:
You can watch the final meeting here: