Cecilia Gentili, originally from Argentina, was undocumented for much of her time in the United States. She’s been incarcerated for substance use and trading sex, hassled by immigration agents at Rikers, and struggled for years to find access to unbiased medical care. Like many sex workers, when she was in unsafe situations she feared being wrung through the criminal justice system more than almost anything else.
Since getting clean and being granted asylum almost a decade ago Gentili has been active in a number of organizations, most recently working as a director of policy at the AIDS organization GMHC. But “one thing I’ve always wanted to take part in was the decriminalization of sex work,” she tells Jezebel. “Because of having a history of being arrested for doing the work that allowed me to survive.”