Kamala Harris has voiced support for decriminalizing sex work, but her voting record on the issue does not support prostitution.
As attorney general, Harris was also active in leading the charge against Backpage.com, a website that hosted classifieds ads and was used by many escorts, which according to sex workers, was a platform that was used to get clients and kept themselves safe. In 2016, she filed numerous charges against the owners of the site, including money laundering, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping. She argued that it was a hub for sex trafficking, with some of the victims being children, even though the site was far more often used by escorts doing consensual sex work.
Harris claimed she wanted to stop arresting sex workers, but instead go after the offenders. "They are criminalizing the women, but not the men who associated with it, who were making money off of it," Harris said. Some sex workers who heard these comments viewed them as support, not for full decriminalization, but partial decriminalization. Also known as the Nordic model, this approach criminalizes the buyers of sex, while not prosecuting those who sell sex.
As a senator, the vice president-elect supported the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, which, according to sex trafficking survivors and sex workers, would do more harm than good to them. Therefore, even though it is true that Harris has since changed her stance and declared her support for decriminalizing sex work, her actions in the past suggest otherwise.