Bad Blood? Bad POLICY!

Considering donating blood? Please be aware of the potential for decline if you are candid about engaging in erotic labor services, regardless of what protocol and screening you practice. Also, keep in mind, many states request a one year deferral if you have had ear piercings, body piercings, or tattoo work, and also in some states, even if you have had acupuncture treatment.

Sex Worker Outreach Project Joins Local Opposition To Controversial Condom Charges By Megan Harris

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

Victory: Amnesty from arrest for sex workers reporting crime

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.

View the Police Department Policy here and the District Attorney Policy here. ##

US PROS Collective

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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HIV Criminalization in the United States: A Sourcebook on State and Federal HIV Criminal Law and Practice, The Center for HIV Law and Policy (2017)

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.

Sexual Health Care for Youth in State Custody

The Center for HIV Law and Policy,  Equality Federation, and Heat: Health Education Alternatives for Teens, invite you to join us for a day organizing to develop an advocacy strategy for policy change on comprehensive sexual health care for LGBTQ youth in state custody.

NH Action Alert issued by US PROStitutes Collective

Global Women’s Strike testified in support of a bill to decriminalize prostitution in New Hampshire.  A Sub Committee of the NH Legislature agreed to study the issue and are meeting on September 5.  Please see Action Alert from the US PROStitutes Collective and write or call sub-committee members in support of decriminalization!

NH ACTION ALERT: Study Of Sex Work Decriminalization Models

YOU CAN HELP STOP THE VIOLENCE BY SUPPORTING SEX WORKER FRIENDLY SERVICES. First meeting of Subcommittee is September 5: We are in touch with Elizabeth Edwards, one of the sponsors of HB 287.  The first meeting of this Subcommittee is September 5.  The committee hearing is open to anyone to attend. Campaigners for decriminalization including Bella Robinson of COYOTE/Rhode Island will be attending. Melanie Dante, a Pennsylvania advocate for sex workers and survivors, and Eris Vayle, both known well for the Philadelphia December 17th effort to de-escalate gender based violence, will also attend.  CRIMINALIZATION & STIGMA CONTRIBUTE TO FACTORS KILLING SEX WORKERS

ESPU-PHILLY Endorses the Consensus Statement on HIV “Treatment as Prevention” in Criminal Law Reform

ESPU-PHILLY Endorses the Consensus Statement on HIV "Treatment as Prevention" in Criminal Law Reform. This is because the two biggest problems with almost all HIV criminal laws and prosecutions are that 1) they focus on HIV disclosure rather than on whether the PLHIV had an intent to do harm; and 2) HIV laws’ felony punishment and severe sentences treat any risk of HIV infection as the equivalent of murder or manslaughter. An April 2017 Pub Med article confirms: - diagnosis rates and laws criminalizing HIV exposure in the United States found no association between HIV or AIDS diagnosis rates and criminal exposure laws across states over time, suggesting that these laws have had no detectable HIV prevention effect.

Community Collaborative Survey

Data collected from this research will be used to help draft policy recommendation promoting the health and safety of US sex workers by sex worker rights-led organizations. It will also help identify what barriers sex workers face in accessing services, protecting their sexual health and reporting violence.

SWOP Behind Bars Talks To PHILLY CAM About Prostitution, Re/Entry & Lack Of  Expungement 

Did you know prostitution convictions cannot be expunged in Pennsylvania? At a time when most all other non-violent crimes are being erased from public record, prostitutes are forced into LEAD, Rescue Diversion, must accept a permanent sex crime conviction on their record. SBB connects with PHILLY CAM!

Democracy for America Endorses Krasner 

Democracy for America chair Jim Dean told PW that the organization’s local affiliated group Philly for Change has “a strong track record of electing progressive candidates who are committed to battling income inequality and structural racism.” We’ll be mobilizing that grassroots support to elect Larry Krasner as Philadelphia’s next District Attorney.” Mums still the word on rumors that billionaire George Soros and his political war chest will come to Krasner’s aid in time for the May 16 primary.

(SOME) Sex Workers Attend 61st Commission on the Status of Women meeting in NYC  | Global Network of Sex Work Projects

At the 61st Commission on the Status of Women meeting in NYC, Penelope Saunders of Best Policy Practice spoke of the importance of conversation about economic justice inclusive of sex work. Many member states push for the Swedish Model, now shown to violate the human rights of sex workers, as outlined in NSWP’s Advocacy Toolkit: The Real Impact of the Swedish Model on Sex Workers.

Andrew Boff, Conservative Member of the London Assembly on The Merseyside Model

The Merseyside Model–Why Crimes Against Prostitutes Are Hate Crimes. In the Booth with Ruth Re/Post of the March 13, 2013 Andrew Boff Discussion with Ruth Jacobs | When prostitutes are made to disappear, most of society does not care, and most of the cases remain unsolved. Women in prostitution suffer higher rates of murder (the mortality rate for women in prostitution in London is 12 times the national average —according to Home Office, a UK government agency that deals with crime and policing), higher rates of rape (more than half have been raped and/or seriously sexually assaulted in the UK), and higher rates of physical violence (at least three-quarters have been physically assaulted). But in 2006, Merseyside police declared crimes against sex workers hate crimes. The results are so astounding I cried reading them. In Liverpool, in 2009, police convicted 90 percent of those who raped sex workers. In 2010, the overall conviction rate in Merseyside for crimes against sex workers was 84 percent, with a 67 percent conviction rate for rape. The national average conviction rate for rape is 6.5 percent. Over the years, I’ve seen my friends in prostitution who have been raped, battered and robbed receive poor treatment from the police when they have reported these crimes, though mostly they did not. They did not report to the police crimes committed against them because they had been, or knew others who had been, treated like a criminal and charged with something related to prostitution, dismissed, and sadly there were some who were sexually exploited further. These are some of the reasons why most crimes against women in prostitution are not reported. But not so in Merseyside. In Merseyside, crimes against people in prostitution are being reported, the victims are being treated like victims and not criminals, and the perpetrators are being convicted. After speaking with an exited woman about what needs to change for those in the sex trade,Fiona MacTaggart MP demonstrated her interest to protect those in prostitution: Having been a victim of rape more than once, I have seen how poorly this is handled by police. I know what it feels like not to get justice and to live with the knowledge the men who have raped me have been allowed by the system to continue to rape other women. The stigma attached to prostitution perpetuates victim-blaming. Much of society does not care for women in prostitution; they judge them, look down on them, and by some, they are deemed “unrapable.” My heart has broken listening to my friends tell me how it was their fault they were raped because they went to the hotel, got in the car, let the punter in their flat; there was no point in going to the police when they were to blame in the first place. Some of my friends did not recognize times they were raped until they had exited prostitution: they had frozen, unable to move or struggle; too scared to speak; and others because they’d ‘agreed’ to sexual acts due to fear of violence. This is rape. It is never the victim’s fault. There is never a reason or excuse to rape. There is no class of women who are “unrapable”. There are no women who deserve this. The Merseyside model of making crimes against sex workers hate crimes allows the victim to feel safe in reporting the crime to the police. It also goes some way to reduce the stigma suffered by people in prostitution, which in turn will play a part in allowing them to realize when they have been the victim of rape, and to know that it is never, never, never their fault. Mainly through lack of knowledge, most people do not understand women in prostitution. For anyone who would like to understand these women better, I urge you to read Voices of Prostitution Survivors freely here, or In Her Own Words.  Interview with a London Call Girl, my charity publication, which you can get here for Kindle.  This will give you insight into the emotional, psychological and social issues affecting women in prostitution. [Bloggers Note: This site supports the New Zealand Model]  There are some wonderful people fighting for the Nordic model (which criminalizes buying sex but not selling it), like many of those I interviewed for Human Trafficking Awareness Month. There are also those fighting against it. But one thing people from these opposing groups agree on, if their stance stems from care and not moral judgement or profiteering, is that the safety of women in prostitution is of paramount importance. Whether there is a Nordic model or not, we still need the Merseyside model. As a human rights issue, a series of interviews will be published here over the coming weeks that will discuss the need for this model to be implemented nationally. With the permission of the interviewees, some of these interviews will be republished on other blogs from current affairs through to sex worker blogs, and we hope this issue achieves coverage in the national press. Right now, in the UK, it seems the safest place for those in prostitution is Merseyside. We need to make the rest of the UK equally as safe for this group of people who are the most vulnerable and at the greatest risk. Myself and [Diary of a Virgin Whore blogger] Kalika Golddisagree on other issues, but we are putting those differences aside to focus on this most serious issue—keeping women, men and transgender people in prostitution safe. On this, we wholeheartedly agree. Kalika will be creating a new blog on which a petition can be signed to make all crimes against sex workers hate crimes throughout the UK. If this is made law here, other countries will need to pay attention. Below is an example of how in practice this policy works:

 Sex worker Linda from Anfield was raped twice at knife-point in a terrifying attack carried out in 2007. She fell into sex work despite a private education and supportive family. She said: “The night I was raped I approached a man and asked him if he wanted to do business. “I took him to a piece of waste land we used and we agreed on a price but when we got there he pulled a knife and told me he’d do what he wanted. “He raped me and then told me to stay there and count to 10 while he walked off. “I didn’t for some reason and followed him. I was about three or four steps behind whispering on the phone to the police.” She was immediately taken seriously and as the case was put together she was referred to the Armistead Centre, who, through the Ugly Mugs scheme, warned other sex workers about him.She said: “No-one asked any questions that weren’t relevant to the crime. Normally they ask about drug dealers and where you go to score.” At court she gave evidence behind a screen but she had to go through a retrial after the first jury failed to reach a verdict. Her attacker was convicted and given an indeterminate sentence. Linda has now quit the sex industry, has her own home and now a new baby. 

Silence on Violence: Boff recommends all violence against sex workers be defined as hate crimes.
Silence on Violence: Boff recommends all violence against sex workers be defined as hate crimes.

In a report commissioned by Boris Johnson, the London mayor, Andrew Boff, a Conservative member of the London. Assembly, recommends all crimes against sex workers should be treated as hate crimes.  Boff, author of the report Silence on Violence is quoted as saying: Crimes against people in prostitution are not only hate crimes when they occur in Merseyside, they are hate crimes wherever they occur.

Read the 67 page Silence on Violence report 

INTERVIEW:  In the Booth with Ruth!

From your research of the Metropolitan Police, can you tell me how they are dealing with crimes committed against people in prostitution/sex workers? 
Some police, and indeed some boroughs and units in the MPS, are doing a great job. However unfortunately, it takes just one bad officer to disproportionately damage relations between sex workers and police.

What concerns were raised in your report?

One of the concerns in my report, Silence on Violence, was that there was consistent evidence that police had been proactively raiding sex establishments without complaints or significant intelligence that exploitation was taking place.

Can you explain how this affects people in prostitution/sex workers when a crime is committed against them?

NHS projects had noted that ‘brothel’ raids and visits had led to the displacement of sex workers away from their support networks, which led to their lives and health being at increasing risk. There is another concern – that when police resources are stretched, should police be visiting establishments advertised in phone boxes, using seven officers a time?

How do you believe people in prostitution/sex workers are treated by the police? And do they report crimes committed against them?

Some sex workers in London feel that when they report crimes, police focus on their crimes related to sex work – such as having a ‘brothel’ – over the crimes they originally reported against them. I have seen several cases like this in London. As a result of this belief in the sex industry, sex workers have told me they feel that they cannot safely report crime to the police.

The service providers I spoke to, who work with sex workers, all said that they had noticed a decline in the number of sex workers reporting crimes to police. Furthermore, some sex workers have felt that the police have not treated them with dignity and respect when they have come into contact with the law. Indeed, I know of a recent case like this – where a sex worker’s earnings were, I believe, unfairly seized – where a sex worker reported to me that the police treatment she experienced was “degrading and humiliating”.

What are your thoughts on the Merseyside model? Should it be adopted by the Metropolitan Police Force? 

The best policing model I found to tackle this lack of reporting was in Merseyside. This included labelling attacks against sex workers as hate crimes as a way of acknowledging that they were a minority who were disproportionately targeted by criminals. I recommended, in Silence on Violence, that London should follow Merseyside’s successful example and label crimes against sex workers as ‘hate crimes’

Philly Needs Mercy: The Merseyside (Hate Crimes) Model -
Philly Needs Mercy: The Merseyside (Hate Crimes) Model – “When prostitutes are made to disappear, most of society does not care, and most of the cases remain unsolved. Women in prostitution suffer higher rates of murder”.

2011 Change dot org Petition / Letter to:

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party Theresa May MP

House of Commons Rt Hon Mrs Theresa May MP

Make the Merseyside hate crime model of policing prostitution law UK wide. No other forces have adopted the approach despite it being recommended in the 2011 Chief Police Officers’ Strategy & Supporting Operational Guidance for Policing Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation. The current laws make people in the sex trade, most often in poverty and many single mothers, ‘easy targets’ for criminals.

We know you are working towards making our society safer with the recent review you instigated of the way police investigate domestic violence and with your introduction of the new law to fight human trafficking.
Declaring crimes committed against people in prostitution as hate crimes affects sex trafficking victims and sex workers, and by dramatically increasing convictions of rapists, murderers and other violent criminals, society as a whole is made safer.
You recently said, “We have a duty to provide vulnerable people with the best possible protection.” We recommend you back this up with immediate action to protect the most vulnerable in our society to rape, other violence and murder.

Ruth Jacobs

andrew-boffFrom your research of the Metropolitan Police, can you tell me how they are dealing with crimes committed against people in prostitution/sex workers? 

Some police, and indeed some boroughs and units in the MPS, are doing a great job. However unfortunately, it takes just one bad officer to disproportionately damage relations between sex workers and police.

What concerns were raised in your report?

One of the concerns in my report, Silence on Violence, was that there was consistent evidence that police had been proactively raiding sex establishments without complaints or significant intelligence that exploitation was taking place.

Can you explain how this affects people in prostitution/sex workers when a crime is committed against them?

NHS projects had noted that ‘brothel’ raids and visits had led to the displacement of sex workers away from their support networks, which led to their lives and health being at increasing risk. There is another concern – that when police…

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PEPFAR 2015 – 2017 

PEPFAR is the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. PEPFAR is the aparatus for U.S. funding for global HIV prevention, treatment and care, and disburses ~5-6 Billion USD in global funding annually. In 2003, PEPFAR added an “Anti-prostitution Loyalty Oath” to grantee contracts. The devastating effects of the anti-prostitution oath annihilated agencies that depended on the funding to sustain their operations, and more importantly, excluded vulnerable populations in need. 2017: The oath continues to harm the global fight against HIV and AIDS. U.S. sex worker rights organizations collectively and vehemently oppose the current restrictions. Allied in S/W via SWOP Communication - We recommend the US remove anti prostitution language, and support strategies accepted as best practice in anti-trafficking, women’s development, gender equality, and HIV prevention work.

Do Some Women Prostitute Because of Weak Wage? YES! OH YES!

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how far into this year full-time working women must head into work – in addition to last year – in order to earn what their male counterparts earned last year. Here are the real and sad statistics surrounding the persistent wage gap that plagues working women across the nation. Pa Representative Mike O'Brian writing on U.S. gender based wage discrepancies.

International Sex Workers Rights Day is March 3rd

"Sex Workers Speak Out: Coast to Coast Perspectives About Canada's Harmful Laws" is part of International Sex Workers Rights Day, to be recognized March 3rd. The voices of workers in the sex trade will be showcased in a display at St. John's City Hall beginning today. Article re/post by Tara Bradbury tbradbury@thetelegram.com  Published on February … Continue reading International Sex Workers Rights Day is March 3rd