Queens DA candidate Mina Malik announces she won’t prosecute sex workers

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Courtesy of Malik’s campaign

Mina Malik joined fellow candidate City Councilman Rory Lancman in announcing that as the Queens District Attorney, she will not prosecute sex workers. Instead, with the full force of the office, Malik said she will pursue the prosecution of promoters and buyers, known as pimps and johns, who are trafficking the most vulnerable, specifically targeting cases deemed to be coercive and predatory as part of her Survivor’s Justice Policy.

Candidate Tiffany Cabán is calling for a total decriminalization of the sex work industry.

As a former Queens Assistant District Attorney and Special Victims prosecutor for nearly a decade, Malik successfully prosecuted human traffickers, serial rapists, child molesters and violent, repeat offenders.

“It is important to understand that not all sex work is voluntary,” Malik said. “Further, prosecuting sex workers has discriminatorily and disproportionately targeted communities of color, the LGBTQ community and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. As a reform-minded district attorney, I will prosecute buyers and promoters, not sex workers, for the oftentimes forced participation in an exploitative industry.”

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, New York has the fifth highest number of trafficked individuals in the entire country. The majority of these victims are immigrants. Given that Queens is the most diverse county in the country, with residents from more than 190 countries, Queens is a uniquely vulnerable target for trafficking.

As part of her Survivor’s Justice Policy, Malik said she will avoid re-traumatizing survivors by expediting court proceedings where survivors encounter offenders. Malik said she would partner with community organizations to develop individualized healing plans for survivors of sex crimes. She would also seek diversion and trauma-informed care for individuals who are suffering from the mental, psychological and physical abuse because of forced sex work.

In addition, Malik said she would increase and improve the number of co-located services for survivors within the DA’s office, enforce employee commitment to rehabilitation of those who interact with the criminal justice system and welcome sex workers, advocates and experts to the table when discussing nuances between voluntary and involuntary sex work on a case-by-case basis.

“While working as a Special Victims prosecutor, I worked with countless people who were survivors of sexual abuse and assault,” Malik said. “I am adamantly committed to ensuring that the Queens District Attorney’s Office protects survivors, plays an active role in their healing and prioritizes not re-traumatizing them.”

Malik and Cabán will face Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Judge Greg Lasak and former prosecutors Jose Nieves and Betty Lugo in the June 25 Democratic primary.