Warren Open to Decriminalizing Prostitution, Banning Private Prisons

'I'm open to decriminalization. Sex workers, like all workers, deserve autonomy'

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) expressed openness to decriminalizing prostitution and came out with another proposal this week: banning private prisons.

Several 2020 Democratic candidates fully support decriminalization of prostitution, including Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.). Warren wouldn't go as far as them yet.

"I'm open to decriminalization. Sex workers, like all workers, deserve autonomy but they are particularly vulnerable to physical and financial abuse and hardship," Warren said in a statement to the Washington Post. "We need to make sure that we don't undermine legal protections for the most vulnerable, including the millions of individuals who are victims of human trafficking each year."

Warren has supported anti-trafficking legislation as a lawmaker, USA Today reports:

Last year, Congress passed two anti-trafficking bills, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which became law.

Warren previously voted for FOSTA, which bans websites used by sex workers to screen clients. In addition, she also introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would pressure banks to shut down accounts suspected of engaging in trafficking, HuffPost reported.

Warren also released a proposal Friday to ban private, for-profit prisons, citing the Trump administration's southern border policies, saying the country's criminal and immigration systems were "tearing apart communities of color and devastating the poor, including children."

"There should be no place in America for profiting off putting more people behind bars or in detention," she wrote in a post on Medium. "That’s why I will shut down the use of federal private detention facilities by ending all contracts that the Bureau of Prisons, ICE, and the U.S. Marshals Service have with private detention providers. And I will extend these bans to states and localities by conditioning their receipt of federal public safety funding on their use of public facilities."

Warren has enjoyed a small surge in polling in recent months, in part due to her laundry list of proposals that include tuition-free public college, universal child care, a $2 trillion investment in green energy, and canceling 95 percent of student-loan debt.