(ADVOCATE) – Sen. Kamala Harris – who recently announced her campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination – was interviewed by The Root this week about her "support" for the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and its companion bill, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), both which passed last year. These laws have caused enormous harm to consensual sex workers and damaged free speech on the internet.
"Do you think sex work ought to be decriminalized?" journalist Terrell Starr asks at the 16:23 mark in the interview published Tuesday.
"I think so, I do," Harris says. "I think that we have to understand, though, that it is not as simple as that. ... There's an ecosystem around that, that involves crimes that harm people. And for those issues, I do not believe that anybody who hurts another human being or profits off of their exploitation should be ... free of criminal prosecution."
Advertisement - story continues below
That "I do" has blown up across media. "Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work," The Hill reported. "Kamala Harris Supports Decriminalizing Sex Work & Advocates Have Strong Feelings," ran Bustle's headline. "Kamala Harris Declares Her Support for Decriminalizing Sex Work" read Rolling Stone.
These headlines are irresponsible and false.