The group Sex Workers Rights Campaign is trying to “decriminalize” prostitution in the state but has pulled a petition to put the issue on the ballot.
Oregon voters were being asked to support legalized prostitution on Initiative Petition 42.
Cheryl Csiky of In Your Backyard, a group that fights sex trafficking, tells AFN the organization fights legalized prostitution while the women themselves are treated as victims of a criminal industry.
“The sex industry, in general, is inherently violent,” Csiky says. “There's trauma no matter what in the sex industry, and if you are in a situation of prostitution, it can be emotionally, physically and sexually harmful.”
Csiky, who is assistant executive director at Backyard, was exploited at the age of 10. She was too young at the time to realize she had been introduced, and had survived, sex-trafficking in her own middle-class neighborhood.
Regarding women trapped in the sex trade, Csiky says the group works to not only rescue women but to help them put the past behind them and move on with their lives. So the group focuses on the sex traffickers who operate in the shadows.