Last updated on: 4/3/2017 | Author:

Udi Ofer, JD Biography

Deputy National Political Director and Director of the Campaign for Smart Justice at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Pro to the question "Should Prostitution Be Legal?"

“As civil libertarians, we believe the government should not throw consenting adults in jail for private sexual conduct. An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions. Our rights to individual autonomy and privacy allow us all to make these decisions as adults.

As advocates for equality, we know that anti-sex work laws disproportionately target women along with LGBTQ people, young people and people of color, all of whom are overrepresented in the sex industry and at highest risk of arrest. Systemic discrimination can factor into the decision to participate in sex work. In the face of job discrimination, no viable alternatives for earning a living, ejection from school, eviction from housing or ostracism from your family for your gender identity or sexual orientation, sex work may offer one of the more stabilizing and accessible ways to support yourself and your family.

As criminal justice reformers, we see laws criminalizing sex work as another way of misdirecting law enforcement resources and expanding our unjust system of mass incarceration. Scarce tax dollars underwrite people’s arrests and imprisonment for consensual activity. In addition to criminal records, arrests for sex work come with devastating collateral consequences, including eviction, loss of child custody and deportation.”

Cowritten with Jeanne LoCicero, “ACLU: It’s Time to Decriminalize Prostitution,”, July 6, 2016

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Deputy National Political Director and Director of the Campaign for Smart Justice, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Oct. 2016-present
  • Executive Director, ACLU of New Jersey, Feb. 2013-Oct. 2016
  • Advocacy Director, New York Civil Liberties Union, 2003-Feb. 2013
  • Former Adjunct Professor, New York Law School
  • Skadden Fellow, My Sisters’ Place, Aug. 2001-Apr. 2003
  • JD, Fordham University School of Law, 2001
  • BA, Political Science, American Studies, and International Studies, University at Buffalo, 1993-1997
  • Twitter: @UdiACLU
Quoted in:
  1. Should Prostitution Be Legal?