Tag Archives: sex work

April 11: Action to support Monica Jones and end Prostitution Free Zones

Join HIPS, DC Trans Coalition, GLAA, and Best Practices Policy Project and groups around the U.S. and the world standing in solidarity with Monica Jones on her trial date, April 11, 2014. We are joining this global day of action against criminalization and profiling of trans women of color, and calling on DC to repeal the discriminatory Prostitution Free Zones.

Monica Jones, a human rights defender in Arizona and an advocate for the rights of transgender people and sex workers, was profiled and wrongfully arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” by a police sting operation and anti-prostitution diversion program known as “Project ROSE”. Ms Jones had been a speaker at a rally protesting Project ROSE—which is run by Phoenix police and Arizona State University’s School of Social Work—the day before. At the time of her arrest, she was not engaging in sex work, but was in fact walking down her street to the local bar.

On April 11 at 8:30 am (U.S. Mountain Standard Time) Monica’s case will go to trial at Phoenix Municipal Court. She will plead not guilty and an action is planned outside the court to show the City of Phoenix Prosecutor that we won’t tolerate the systematic profiling and criminalization of transgender people of color and sex workers. In DC, we will rally at noon in front of the Wilson Building in solidarity with Monica and trans women of color throughout the U.S. subject to such mistreatment. We will also call on the DC Council to repeal the discriminatory Prostitution Free Zones and promote the human rights of sex workers in our city.

What: Rally against criminalization of trans women of color and for human rights of sex workers
WhenApril 11, 12pm-2pm
Where: Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

DCTC joins in Community Response to Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force

Today, DCTC joined with six other DC LGBTQ community organizations in responding to the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force report released by the Metropolitan Police Department on February 26. Taken together, the Task Force Report, MPD’s response, and the community response provide an essential starting point to improving relations between MPD and DC’s LGBTQ communities.

In the community response, we thank the Task Force for their research and findings. In general, we agree with the recommendations that the Task Force put forward. Our recommendations are designed to build upon the Task Force report by offering concrete steps that MPD and community organizations can take that, over time, will allow for positive change in how LGBTQ-police interactions occur in DC. The community response also looks beyond the issue of hate crimes to discuss response to intimate partner violence in LGBTQ relationships, interactions with LGBTQ youth, and interactions with sex workers. We look forward to engaging with MPD to begin implementing these recommendations.

Finally, the community response offers three specific recommendations to the DC Council, including:

  • Repeal Prostitution Free Zones and decriminalize sex work,
  • Strengthen the authority of the Office of Police Complaints, and
  • Hold annual hearings on marginalized community relations with MPD

UPDATE: A community forum to discuss the recommendations and next steps will be held at Casa Ruby on Wednesday, March 26, at 7:00pm. You can RSVP via facebook or by emailing vvillano@transequality.org.

To read the Community Response to the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force, please click here (pdf).

Click here to read the Report of the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force and MPD’s response (pdf).

This Sunday! Panel on Policing Sex in DC

Friends, activists and community members! Please join us for a panel discussion this Sunday, November 24, at the American Studies Association Conference on the issue of Policing Sex in DC! Our goals for the panel include talking about how sex/sexuality is policed in DC, including but not limited to: sex work, trans feminine bodies, black and other bodies of color, queer bodies, pathologization and HIV/AIDS and so on.

This event is FREE and OPEN to the public and will be an opportunity to talk about the issues of policing sex, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, trans and queer folks in Washington, DC. The panel will be from 12:00pm to 1:45pm at the Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Ave NW) in the Fairchild West on the Terrace level. If you need help with accessing the event, please contact Elijah Edelman (elijah.edelman (at) gmail.com). We will have bus tokens and metro cards available!

Panel Details

Activist Responses to the Policing of Sex in DC

Sunday, November 24, 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Washington Hilton, F1 – Fairchild West (T)

CHAIR: Elijah Adiv Edelman, American University (DC)

PANELISTS:

  • Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby and Latinos en Acción (DC)
  • Debbie McMillan, Helping Individual People Survive, HIPS (DC)
  • Jason Terry, DC Trans Coalition (DC)
  • Meredith Zoltick, Andromeda Transcultural Health (DC)

Our Testimony in Opposition to Permanent “Prostitution Free” Zones

We’re at the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee today voicing our strong opposition to proposed permanent “Prostitution Free” Zones. These zones are currently limited to ten days, and since they came into effect in 2006, have effectively been Trans Profiling Zones. Their impact is to banish trans women of color from particular spaces in the city, and to endanger trans lives by forcing people into less safe areas.

Two DCTC members are testifying today in opposition to this bill. A few higlights are below.

From Alison Gill’s testimony:

Since passing the laws allowing for the creating of prostitution free zones in 2006, these zones have been used to harass and criminalize trans people and shatter trans communities. Although both the police orders implementing prostitution free zones (PFZs) and on transgender people prohibit profiling, we know from community experience that profiling trans people as sex workers is a prevalent occurrence. This attitude is reflected in both the violence committed by police against the trans community, and in some cases, even expressed directly (see attached). Due to the lesser burden of proof required by PFZs, police are able to turn general suspicions that trans women are prostitutes into arrests. In effect, trans women are banished from given areas of the city at the police chief’s discretion. Many of this past year’s violent attacks on trans women have happened in or near these profiling zones. The simple fact is that rather than eliminating prostitution, PFZs facilitate bad or lazy police work and lead to the harassment of trans women.

From Nico Quintana’s statement:

Sex work is employment. When other forms of employment are not accessible to someone due to transphobia, employment discrimination, education inequities, etc., sex work can be an employment opportunity.  Instead of punishing working people, and further marginalizing transgender communities, I recommend the District government continue its efforts to address poverty and employment inequities in the DC transgender community, like it is doing through Project Empowerment.

UPDATED: Our friends at HIPS sent out an update about the hearing that sums it up pretty nicely:

We want to let everyone know about the tremendously positive outcome of the hearing. Hopefully, the proposed PFZ expansion will be voted down! Organizations from the ACLU to the DC Public Defender Service came out to express their concern about the constitutionality of PFZs. Most strikingly, Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham testified against expanding PFZs, saying that “we cannot arrest our way out of the problem” and that “at the end of the day, there’s got to be a better approach.” He suggested increased mental health and substance treatment programs.

Ariel Levinson-Waldman, who is senior counsel to the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, said that PFZ laws in their current form are of questionable constitutionality and practicality and that this would only heighten if they are expanded. He suggested that the District would be litigated against  if MPD tried to arrest anyone under these laws.

For more about the hearing, check out the Washington Post and Metro Weekly.

Take Action! Join us in opposing Prostitution Free Zones

Tomorrow the DC Council is holding a hearing on Bill 19-567, which would allow the police chief to create permanent Prostitution Free Zones, which we call Trans Profiling Zones. We will be testifying with a large coalition of groups opposed to this bill, but we need your help!

Please take a moment to sign this petition to the DC Council adding your voice in opposition to this bill. You can also learn more about how these zones endanger trans people’s lives in the video here and in the findings from our needs assessment here. We need to take a stand against criminalization and police bias, and encourage our lawmakers to start thinking about real solutions to the many injustices trans people face.

If you would like to attend the hearing yourself, it will be held at 11am on Tuesday, January 24 in room 412 at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. You can also watch online here.