This week, a bill to decriminalize prostitution in Louisiana will be heard by the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Now, before we go any further, it's important to note the purpose of this bill and give you a little backstory. The bill is being proposed by New Orleans representative Mandie Landry. Landry is proposing the idea of decriminalizing prostitution as a way to fight back against sex trafficking in Louisiana. The bill also hopes to help those who choose prostitution as a profession, with a belief that those workers can't seek help due to prostitution being illegal.

Speaking about sex workers in Louisiana, Landy says, "They are often subjects of violence at the hands of the police or if they suffer violence from other people in the community they often can’t get the assistance they need."

In terms of sex trafficking victims, Landry believes this bill will make it easier to spot those who need help. She says, "By removing the crime from the aspect it’s much more obvious who is there against their will. And in any case, anyone under the age of 18 right now would be considered a trafficking victim."

Naturally, this bill is causing a little controversy in Louisiana, and for good reason. It's certainly hard to make a case that prostitution should be legal, but Landry and her supporters are making their case this week.

National Center of Sexual Exploitation CEO Dawn Hawkins is firmly against this decriminalization bill. In fact, Dawn believes this bill will have the exact opposite of its desired effect, saying, "There has been an increase in sex trafficking. There’s an academic study of 150 countries that show huge amounts of harm when you decriminalize or legalize prostitution."



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