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Brooklyn DA Gonzalez Says He'd Support Legislation That Would Decriminalize Prostitution

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Brooklyn's district attorney is considering making prostitution legal.

But as CBS2's Hazel Sanchez found out Tuesday, not everyone likes that idea.

It's the oldest profession on the books, but should it be legal?

"Honestly, I don't think so," one person said.

"Probably yes," resident Mimi Inchusti said, adding when asked to explain why, "Well, because it becomes more of a victimless crime when people aren't being prosecuted. And I think, unfortunately, they always prosecute the wrong person in the whole process."

Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez says he would consider supporting legislation that would legalize prostitution, but adds the decriminalization policy would not apply to pimps or sex traffickers.

"I think if it's regulated so that health is maintained -- she or he is in a safe environment -- it's a business," said Ferdinanda Williams-Nichols of Prospect Heights.

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Dorchen Leidholdt, from "Sanctuary for Families," a group that advocates for sex trafficking victims, said the group supports not prosecuting prostitutes, but added laws need to be tough on Johns and sex buyers.

"We think legalizing prostitution would be a grave mistake," Leidholdt said. "Legalizing prostitution is turning traffickers, pimps and other exploiters into legal businessmen. It makes it easier for them to do business. The incidence of trafficking increases. The incidence of child trafficking increases. So it would be a grave policy mistake."

Mayor Bill de Blasio agrees.

"I think we have a very troubling dynamic out there and we need to keep the legal status it has now," de Blasio said. "We have to also make that the women who are victimized are not penalized again, that we help protect them and help them get to a safe situation and a better future."

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Some people CBS2's Sanchez spoke to are on the fence about legalizing prostitution, saying the devil would be in the detail of a proposed sex-trade law.

"I feel that there needs to be much more attention paid to human trafficking," one person said.

The Kings County Prosecutor's Office said prostitutes generally don't get prosecuted or do jail time. And for now, it's not changing its policy.


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