Libertarians are sometimes described as “Republicans with weed.” It may be flip, but it’s a decent enough illustration of the Libertarian Party platform since it supports deregulation across economic and social spheres. That ethos of deregulation just got broader, as the Libertarian Party sex work policy now pushes for decriminalization, making them the only notable U.S. political party to support legalized sex work.
Yesterday, the new Libertarian Party sex work platform was adopted by vote at the party’s national convention in New Orleans. Plank 2.8 of the Libertarian platform calls for the decriminalization of sex work and it was drafted by sex workers.
This Sunday, the Green Party rejected a similar motion. Instead, the Greens will continue pushing for a “Nordic model” of sex work criminalization, which puts the criminalization on buying sex, rather than the selling of sex. The Green Party also urged members not to use the term “sex work,” preferring the word “prostitution.” The Sex Workers Outreach Project criticized the Green Party on Twitter for their move.
The debate of whether or not sex work should be criminalized is long-standing. In 2015, Amnesty International was criticized by over 400 female celebrities for supporting decriminalization of sex work.
Sex workers also often face discrimination. According to the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee, “Sex workers are often denied housing, medical insurance, credit, even the ability to open a bank account because of the source of their livelihood. Sex workers are also often at risk of losing their children in custody battles due to the nature of their profession. Legislation is often passed under the guise of ‘protecting sex workers and stopping human trafficking,’ yet in practice those laws can put an already marginalized population at further risk.“
While the Libertarian party sex work platform calls for decriminalization, and the Greens want to move to the Nordic Model, neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican platform had made any mention of sex work in their platforms.