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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people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution — a law popularly known as "Walking While Trans" that was repealed in February.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

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

3 hours ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.