Sex Workers Mad at Bernie Sanders, and Cardi B’s Involved

Senator faces criticism for vote on bill to curb sex trafficking

Bernie Sanders
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Bernie Sanders has drawn the ire of sex workers after voting in favor of a bill to curb sex trafficking and then tweeting a reference to Cardi B.

On Wednesday, the Vermont senator shared a quote from the rapper in defense of social security, writing, “Cardi B is right. If we are really going to make America great we need to strengthen Social Security so that seniors are able to retire with the dignity they deserve.”

As Salon noted on Thursday, that tweet was met with a number of responses from those noting that Cardi B is a former stripper and Sanders had very recently helped to pass a bill that some say will endanger sex workers.

“Hey Bernie: Cardi is a former stripper. You voted for SESTA which endangers sex workers,” wrote adult film actress Sydney Leathers. “Please don’t try to use her for clout. We know how you really feel.”

SESTA refers to the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act, which Sanders voted for in the Senate and was signed into law by President Donald Trump last week. Critics of the legislation say it confuses consensual sex work with illegal sex trafficking and could make life more dangerous for sex workers.

“Conflating sex trafficking with consensual adult sex work does so much more harm than good,” sex worker Ginger Banks told Salon. “Decriminalizing sex work is what I believe is the answer to protecting not only people who choose to do sex work but those who are forced into it.”

Banks said she was inspired by Sanders’ tweet about Cardi to create a video that would “ask him to possibly add the rights of sex workers to the list of things that he’s willing to fight for,” adding that she is still a supporter.

Others have not been a generous: “I love when Bernie tries to make relevant tie ins with his campaign but forgets he’s quoting a former sex worker who would have definitely been harmed by his decision to vote yes on SESTA/FOSTA,” read another tweet highlighted by Salon.

Representatives for Sanders did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.