By Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press
Washtenaw County’s new prosecutor says his office will no longer pursue charges against adults who engage in consensual sex work, a move that national advocates praised as a win for marginalized people.
The policy directive that Prosecutor Eli Savit issued Thursday applies to both people who sell sex and those who solicit it.
Savit’s policy cites research showing that criminalization forces sex workers to operate in a black market and in isolated areas, exposing them to violence and exploitation. The threat of prosecution makes sex workers and survivors of trafficking less likely to report crimes, he said.
“As with other prohibitionist policies, the criminalization of sex work actually increases the risk of sex work-adjacent harm,” Savit said in an announcement on the prosecutor’s office website. “Forcing sex workers to operate in the shadows increases their susceptibility to physical assault, sexual assault and trafficking.