"New York Democrats claim to be champions for women," U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island, the city’s only GOP member of Congress, wrote on Twitter, "then create demeaning policies like this that allow them to be exploited and trafficked, while simultaneously destroying our city’s quality of life. Is this their idea of job creation?"
Malliotakis was referring to a change in policy earlier this year, in which city cops were advised to no longer arrest people who appeared to be loitering for the purpose of prostitution. The directive followed a repeal of a decades-old New York state law that critics argued was discriminatory against women, minorities and transgender people, the Post reported.
She was also reacting to a Twitter post from New York state Assemblyman Mike Tannousis, a Brooklyn Republican who wrote that he opposed repealing New York state's "loitering for prostitution" law – fearing that the result would be more street prostitution.
After the changes in state law and city police policy, prostitutes and their clients began appearing in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, the newspaper reported.
For a story published Thursday, the Post included numerous photos of women walking the neighborhood’s streets, approaching cars while dressed in little more than lingerie and high heels.
Law enforcement in the area seemed almost non-existent, the newspaper reported.
Other New York Republicans calling for a crackdown on street prostitution included Curtis Sliwa, the longtime leader of the Guardian Angels anti-crime group, who recently won the GOP nomination in New York City’s race to replace outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, a termed-out Democrat.
"It’s become a quasi red-light district," Sliwa said of the Brooklyn neighborhood, according to the Post.
"I grew up here," he continued. "I still know some of the people who reside here, and they should not have to put up with a red-light district operating in their backyard."
Some New York Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have spoken out in defense of sex workers.
"Sex work is work," Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter last December, after a paramedic was criticized for trying to earn extra money through the OnlyFans online site, where many people post racy content.
Malliotakis hit back at Ocasio-Cortez in an April post – after the Manhattan district attorney announced plans to no longer prosecute prostitution-related offenses.
"How derogatory for @AOC to marginalize women & say ‘sex work is work,’" Malliotakis wrote. "She takes pride in killing jobs that provide women with real economic opportunities but supports prostitution that erodes quality of life & further incentivizes sex trafficking."
In 2019, Ocasio-Cortez was among a group of Democrats in Washington backing the SAFE SEX Workers Study Act, which called for researching whether knocking sex workers off online sites would force them into more risky ways of making money through sex work.
Malliotakis, 40, is a former New York state lawmaker who’s now serving her first term in Congress after being elected last November, ousting an incumbent Democrat in New York’s 11th Congressional District.
In other tweets Saturday, Malliotakis lamented the rising number of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border; blasted Black Lives Matter as hypocritical for opposing police in the U.S. but praising Cuba’s brutal communist regime; and slammed "Cuomo & de Blasio’s New York" after an assault suspect in New York City’s Queens borough was reported to have 90 prior arrests.