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Albany, N.Y. – New York state would legalize the buying and selling of sex under a proposal introduced in the state Legislature that would lift criminal penalties for sex work.

The bill was announced Monday and isn’t expected to get a vote before the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly plan to adjourn for the year next week.

Supporters say criminal penalties for prostitution haven’t worked, and that legalization would improve sex worker safety while reducing trafficking and exploitation.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, former and current sex workers talked about being forced into the industry as minors.

They said many sex workers rely on their jobs to make ends meet, and that laws against prostitution only hurt vulnerable people with few other options.

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