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Harm Reduction Coalition Statement on Rentboy.com Arrests

Harm Reduction Coalition expresses deep concern about yesterday’s raid and arrests of Rentboy.com staff under allegations of promoting prostitution.

The criminalization of sex work fosters violence, stigma, and marginalization. Harm Reduction Coalition affirms a harm reduction approach to sex work which prioritizes creating conditions that provide sex workers with information, support and resources that allow them control and autonomy over their labor to reduce their risks for violence, trauma, HIV, and other harms.

The Rentboy.com prosecution comes only weeks after Amnesty International declared that sex worker rights are human rights, and called for the full decriminalization of consensual adult sex work. Several U.S. LGBT groups – Transgender Law Center, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality – issued a statement of support for Amnesty International’s position on sex work. A human rights and harm reduction approach to sex work recognizes that criminalization disproportionately harms the most vulnerable sex workers, including sexual and gender minorities, as well as people with limited economic resources and people of color who are already disproportionately impacted by policing and mass incarceration.

Harm Reduction Coalition believes that the Rentboy.com charges represent misuse of federal investigative resources and prosecutorial power. We call upon our partners and allies in public health, human rights, harm reduction, HIV, and the LGBT and feminist movements to join us in condemning this assault on sex worker autonomy and to support harm reduction over criminalization.

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