Instrument of Crime: Condoms, Prostitution, Prosecutors and Public Safety in Pennsylvania Philadelphia Convention Center 106AB Presentation: Friday 10/5/2018 10:45 AM Outlawed in California, New York, and Washington D.C., since 2012 Pennsylvania prosecutors have been using Comstock Act era tactics in an effort to detain prostitutes to combat trafficking. Is charging individuals for Instruments of Crime (IOC) effective policing tactic in ending human trafficking; or is contributing to challenges in addressing important public health risks surrounding HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, and sexually transmitted diseases? Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are combining forces for important advocacy work to draw attention to these practices.

Advocates for Sex Workers Send Open Letter to Allegheny District Attorney Stephen Zappala Opposing Criminalization of Condom Possession

The letter notes that criminalizing condoms “has a chilling effect on Pittsburghers' willingness to carry and use condoms, especially those who are most vulnerable to contracting HIV/AIDS and other STIs including women and men of color, LGBTQ people, young people, victims of trafficking, and people in the sex trades.”


Dear District Attorney Zappala

The Sex Worker’s Outreach Project (SWOP) Pittsburgh is disappointed in the District Attorney Zappala’s response to the open letter we and several other organizations (including ACLU of Pennsylvania, Women's Law Project, #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania) opposing several practice that endanger the citizens of Allegheny County: 1.) police and prosecutors’ practice of citing condom possession as evidence of intent to engage in prostitution-related crimes, 2.) police seizure of condoms and other contraceptives, and 3.) the practice of adding the more severe possessing-instrument-of-crime (“PIC”) charges under 18 Pa.C.S. § 907 when defendants are charged with prostitution.

Pa Sen. Bob Casey’s letter for Workers/Survivors to understand the FOSTA/SESTA facts

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio introduced S. 1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, on August 1, 2017. The legislation amends Section 230 to ensure that those who run sites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held accountable for their actions in civil or criminal court. Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri introduced H.R. 1865, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) on April 3, 2017. This bill imposes criminal penalties on a person who facilitates sex trafficking in interstate commerce.  

Why Sex Workers are Fighting the Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill

Guest post by collaborators: M. Dante, Lola Li, and Heather Berg. On March 12th, the Senate votes on SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act. SESTA would criminalize the online advertising, information sharing, and support networks that sex workers use to do their jobs safely. Readers can support the #LetUsSurvive campaign by calling their Senators. WE ARE: #SurvivorsAgainstSESTA

HIV & Solitary Confinement: CJ Palmer

On the 19th of January, 2018, CJ Palmer, a trans woman and former sex worker was charged with causing grievous bodily harm in relation to the alleged transmission of HIV to her ex-partner. CJ has been remanded in a maximum-security male prison in Western Australia where she has already spent over 9 months while awaiting her trial. Her sentence will also be served in a male prison. As a woman in a maximum security male prison, CJ is forced to stay in isolation in a cell by herself in the Crisis Care Unit.

Today we trade fear for sanctuary

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. 

2018 Women’s March Rhode Island Includes Sex Workers

2018Women March Rhode Island Includes Sex Workers. COYOTE had a 60 people sign up for our email list, and over 100 people stopped at our table.  Bella shared that, "We had strippers from Westerly, and we had students from 3 universities and several communities members asking how they can volunteer with Coyote RI. Most importantly we got to educate our community and explain how Uncle Sam is the biggest pimp in the USA."

The International Union of Sex Workers’ statement on the Centre For Women’s Justice challenge to convictions for street sex work

We seek to remove the barriers to leaving the sex industry imposed by criminal law. Women selling sex onstreet may be arrested for loitering or soliciting[iii]; indoors, any way of working with or for another person creates a risk of prosecution[iv]. Clients are entirely criminalised onstreet and extensively indoors[v]. This means that almost anyone who encounters victims of trafficking in the sex industry has reason to fear arrest if they contact the authorities to report concerns.
This complex and confusing mess of legislation endangers everyone in the sex industry. Only complete decriminalisation offers the wholesale reform necessary to create a legal framework that offers us the same human rights accorded to others.[vi]

As the founder and executive director of the Rhode Island Chapter of Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics (COYOTE RI), Bella looks to build and strengthen support networks for sex workers in Rhode Island and she works in close collaboration with activists nationwide. Bella's personal experiences with the criminal justice system over the past four decades give her unparalleled expertise in the areas of sex trafficking and sex worker rights. Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM 1220 Kingstown Rd Peace Dale, Rhode Island 02897 https://www.facebook.com/events/165195230759840/?active_tab=about

Re/Visiting The Invisible John Interview About Jane

The Invisible John Interview About Jane ORIGINAL POST ON SWOP PHL SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 Journalists ask the darndest questions then don’t publish the answers sex workers give them or purposely don’t share all viewpoints if the views don’t fit in with the desired angle of an expose. So – we’ve decided to publish an unpublished and unquoted requested dialog by a journalist who interviewed SWOP Philly’s M. Dante.