Kamala Harris Calls for Sex Work to be Decriminalized

Getty Kamala Harris

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris gave an extented interview to The Root this week, discussing her views on criminal justice, race relations, President Trump — and prostitution. You can watch the full interview here:

Kamala Harris Calls Donald Trump A Racist, Calls for Decriminalization of Sex WorkIn a recent interview with #TheRoot, Kamala Harris reflects on her political past, including some of her most controversial moments as California's Attorney General. Subscribe to The Root: goo.gl/QMOjBE Visit us at: theroot.com/ Like us at: facebook.com/TheRoot Follow us at: twitter.com/theroot View us: instagram.com/the.root Watch more from Fusion friends: Fusion: fus.in/subscribe F-Comedy: goo.gl/Q27Mf7 Fusion TV:…2019-02-26T15:52:19.000Z

Toward the end of the interview, Harris was asked about her position on whether sex work should be decriminalized. Harris began her response by talking about her time as a District Attorney in San Francisco, when, she said, she made the decision to stop arresting prostitutes and to start going after their clients and their pimps. She said,

“I was advocating then that we had to stop arresting these prostitutes and instead start going after the johns and the pimps. Because we were criminalizing the women, but not the men who were associated with it and who were profiting from it.” She added, “On the issue of providing a safe place for sex workers, I am a huge advocate for that. Aways have been.”

Harris was asked directly whether she supported decriminalizing sex work. She responded:

“I think so. I do. I think we have to understand that it is not as simple as that. There is an eco-system around that that includes crimes that hurts people. And I do not believe that anybody that hurts a human being or who profits off of their exploitation should be free of criminal exploitation. But when you’re talking about consenting adults, we should consider that you can’t criminalize consensual behavior, as long as nobody is being harmed.”

Harris Called Trump a Racist & Said There Needs to be ‘Some Form of Reparation’ for the Legacy of Slavery & Jim Crow

GettyKamala Harris

Throughout the interview, Harris stressed that racism plays a huge role in American life. She said that America still hasn’t overcome its legacy of racism; she rejected the idea that we live in a “post-racist” society. Harris was asked directly whether she thinks that there should be “reparations” for the descendants of people who suffered historically from racism. She agreed that there should be “some form of reparation,” but she stopped short of saying what form that would take, or who would be impacted by it.

She said:

“I think there has to be some form of reparations, and we have to discuss what that is…We’re looking at more than 200 years of slavery. We’re looking at almost 100 years of Jim Crow. We’re looking at legalized segregation and, in fact, segregation on so many levels that exists today. There has not been any kind of intervention done. Understanding the harm and damage that occurred, to correct course. We are seeing the effects of all those years playing out today.”

Harris also talked about President Trump, criticizing him sharply for his statements after the Charlottesville riots of 2017. When she was asked directly whether she believed that Trump is a racist, Harris replied,

“When you talk about his statement on that [Charlottesville], when you talk about him calling African countries s-hole countries, when you talk about him referring to immigrants as rapists and murders, I don’t think you can come to any other conclusion.”