Sex Worker Outreach Project Joins Local Opposition To Controversial Condom Charges By Megan Harris Local health and social justice experts say the recent criminalization of condom possession discourages sex workers from practicing safe sex and could lead to a broader public health problem. Possessing an instrument of crime under Pennsylvania law usually refers to weapons or body armor, but can include legal items used for criminal purposes. Data reported recently by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review show police in Allegheny County classified condoms as those instruments in one-third of prostitution cases reviewed last year. - | 90.5 WESA
YOU can help stop the violence. Support DECRIM: NO criminalizing survival!
Congratulations & Great Work! Victory: Amnesty from arrest for sex workers reporting crime January 11, 2018 ***PRESS RELEASE***
San Francisco announces first in-the-country policies to support sex workers who are victims or witnesses to violence in reporting to law enforcement. “Prioritizing Safety for Sex Worker” policies would protect a sex worker reporting a violent crime from arrest or prosecution for prostitution or minor drug offenses
According to new policies released by the City’s two largest law enforcement agencies, the San Francisco Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office, sex workers will not be arrested or prosecuted for prostitution or minor drug offenses, they are reporting a violent crime. Created in partnership with the Department on the Status of Women and local sex worker rights organizations, including members of the Sex Worker and Trafficking Policy Impact Committee of the Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking, the policies are designed to prioritize the safety of sex workers over the prosecution of misdemeanor prostitution and drug-related offenses, and to reduce the likelihood that victims of violence will themselves end up arrested or incarcerated.
“Our hope for this policy is to reduce the harm experienced by sex workers, in particular, women of color and transgender women engaged in the sex trades, who have no protections when reporting violence, or experience mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement,” said Johanna Breyer, Executive Director of St. James Infirmary.
Minouche Kandel, Director of Women’s Policy at the Department on the Status of Women, called the policy “a major step towards addressing violence against women wary of contacting law enforcement because of their criminalized status.”
“Our research and direct service work in San Francisco have shown that most sex workers, and people experiencing exploitation in the sex industry, do not go to the police when they have been victimized. This policy is the first step towards creating a social and political environment where people can seek help when they are victims of violence,” said Alexandra Lutnick, Senior Research Scientist at RTI International.
“For decades sex workers have been pressing the city for safety to be prioritized so we welcome these policies which will make it easier to report violence. This change is particularly needed since national figures show discrimination in the implementation of the prostitution laws and since recent reports show officers taking advantage of vulnerable sex workers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how the policies are implemented”. Rachel West, US PROStitutes Collective.
Law enforcement officials say these policies send a clear message to violent perpetrators that violence against sex workers will be treated seriously under the law. “If we fail to prioritize this population’s health and safety they will not come forward and work with law enforcement as witnesses and victims of violence,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Ultimately, unreported crimes and criminals pose a threat to everyone’s public safety.”
“This policy underscores our commitment to providing services to all victims,” said Police Chief William Scott. “We understand that many times sex workers are themselves victims of predators and human traffickers. Our policy is written in the spirit of encouraging sex workers to feel safe coming forward to law enforcement, with the knowledge that they will be treated with respect and their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated.”
In many jurisdictions across the U.S., sex workers are arrested if they report violent crimes. “We hope these policies- the first of their kind in the nation- will serve as a model for other jurisdictions where criminalized sex workers face high rates of violence,” said Carol Leigh of Bayswan.
January 11, 2018, ***PRESS RELEASE***
San Francisco announces first in-the-country policies to support sex workers who are victims or witnesses to violence in reporting to law enforcement.
“Prioritizing Safety for Sex Worker” policies would protect a sex worker reporting a violent crime from arrest or prosecution for prostitution or minor drug offenses
According to new policies released by the City’s two largest law enforcement agencies, the San Francisco Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office, sex workers will not be arrested or prosecuted for prostitution or minor drug offenses, they are reporting a violent crime. Created in partnership with the Department on the Status of Women and local sex worker rights organizations, including members of the Sex Worker and Trafficking Policy Impact Committee of the Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking, the policies are designed to prioritize the safety of sex workers over the prosecution of misdemeanor prostitution and…
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Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Inauguration: Today we start the long road towards empowering and protecting some of our most vulnerable witnesses and survivors: immigrants that lack legal status so that they like other vulnerable groups - young people, elderly people, sex workers - can participate in the criminal justice system that is there to protect them. Today we trade fear for sanctuary.
The HIV Criminalization Sourcebook includes the text, related case law, and analysis of statutory provisions that: 1. criminalize non-disclosure of HIV status or exposure of a third party to HIV; 2. make exceptions to confidentiality and privacy rights of PLHIV; 3. provide for sentence enhancements for PLHIV convicted of underlying crimes such as prostitution and solicitation; and 4. require sex offender registration for PLHIV.
COYOTEri Mission: We oppose Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion. Decriminalization is empowering whereas LEAD places people in a cycle of punitive and social services. While we support DECRIM, we vehemently oppose all forms of human trafficking and child prostitution. The victims of these crimes deserve our compassion and support; those who exploit others in such a manner deserve severe punishment. Our goal is to reduce harm by education and decriminalizing indoor consensual sex work between consenting adults.
The legal challenge was brought by three ex-prostitutes, a would-be client, and ESPLER (Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational and Research Project). They received good news Thursday after the 9th Circuit judges hinted that some scrutiny of the law was needed. “Why should it be illegal to sell something that it’s legal to give away?” asked, as the Chronicle reported. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White rejected the challenge last year, saying the 2003 Supreme Court ruling was concerning intimate personal relationship and did not apply to commercial sex, adding that California justified the law against prostitution as a deterrence to violence against women, sexually transmitted diseases and human trafficking, according to the Chronicle.
Louis Sirkin, Preeminent First Amendment Lawyer, Will Argue Ninth Circuit Appeal Supporting Sexual Privacy, Against Criminalization Of Sex Work Sex Worker Activist’s Groundbreaking Court Case Scheduled For Oral Arguments In Ninth Circuit Of Appeal on October 19th
In Washington DC HIPS hosted a historic event at our Center for Health and Achievement. Sex workers, allies, community members and more came together to celebrate the introduction of "The Reducing Criminalization to Improve Community Safety and Health Act of 2017". This is bill looks at the underlying systemic issues facing the residents of the District and offers a new approach to improve the health and safety of our residents,” says Cyndee Clay, Executive Director of HIPS, “Street-based sex workers who are engaged in survival sex work often bear the brunt of criminalization. Arresting those who are most at-risk causes irreparable harm, rendering people jobless, homeless, or subject to deportation. Our response to poverty and lack of traditional employment must be based in supportive services and housing, not incarceration.”
Eris Vayle and M. Dante joined Representative Elizabeth Edwards with public television hostess Elizabeth Kopp and Granite Pathways Ryan Fowler for a live stream discussion on Public Safety & Harm Reduction after the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee had a subcommittee meet to work on HB 287, a bill retained by the Legislature for further work, with the fascinating title of “Establishing a Committee to Study Decriminalizing Sex Work.”