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Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced on Wednesday that his office would stop prosecuting prostitution, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The movement to decriminalize sex work has been gaining steam for the past couple of years.

  • The group Human Rights Watch argues, "Criminalizing adult, voluntary, and consensual sex — including the commercial exchange of sexual services — is incompatible with the human right to personal autonomy and privacy."

The big picture: Manhattan now joins a number of other jurisdictions that refuse to prosecute sex workers.

  • A Brooklyn judge last month dismissed 857 cases related to prostitution at the request of the borough's district attorney, according to the New York Post.
  • In Queens, the district attorney moved to dismiss almost 700 cases against people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution — a law popularly known as "Walking While Trans" that was repealed in February.

Details: Vance asked a judge to dismiss 914 cases involving prostitution and unlicensed massage, as well as over 5,000 cases for loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

What they're saying: "Over the last decade we’ve learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: Criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers," Vance said, per The Times.

But, but, but: "The office will continue to prosecute other crimes related to prostitution, including patronizing sex workers and sex trafficking," The Times writes.

Worth noting: The New York legislature is currently in the process of considering the Sex Trade Survivors Justice & Equality Act, legislation that would decriminalize prostitution and hold pimps, sex traffickers and buyers accountable.

Go deeper

U.K. PM orders inquiry into Muslim lawmaker's discrimination claim

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, England, last week. Photo: Ian Vogler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations from a Member of Parliament in his ruling Conservative Party that she was fired from a ministerial job due to her Muslim faith, per the BBC.

Driving the news: Nusrat Ghani told the Sunday Times she was informed that she was fired from her position as a junior transport minister in February 2020 after her "Muslimness was raised as an issue" and that it made her colleagues feel "uncomfortable."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Virginia attorney general fires Jan. 6 investigator from university post

McIntire Amphitheater at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Robert Knopes/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The lead investigator for the Jan. 6 House select committee investigating the Capitol riot has been fired from his position as the University of Virginia's counsel by the state's new Republican attorney general, per the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Democrats say the removal of Tim Heaphy from his post after some three years while he's on leave from the university to investigate the insurrection is likely "retribution" for the House probe — an accusation strongly denied by the office of state Attorney General Jason Miyares (R).

5 hours ago - World

Taiwan's military scrambles jets after detecting 39 Chinese warplanes

J-20 stealth fighter jets in Zhuhai in the Guangdong Province of China last year. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service via Getty Images

Taiwan's defense force said 39 Chinese warplanes flew into its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Sunday.

Why it matters: The largest Chinese air force incursion into the zone since October came a day after the U.S. and Japanese navies conducted a joint exercise in the Philippine Sea.