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.”


Illegal to Legal: SBB In Wayne County, PA

SBB In Wayne County PA M Dante SWOP Behind Bars (SBB) visiting Loose Leaf Pages, a bookshop and tea parlor, in Honesdale, Wayne County, PA discussing SWOP Behind Bars, Re/Entry for Women, FOSTA & SESTA, and DECRIM for Safety. M. Dante seen here with Bob Pelshaw’s book and workbook Illegal to Legal, a re/entry support guide for starting new legal business, along with a postcard for USPROS DECRIM for SAFETY. We thank the Libertarian caucus for inviting us to speak!

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

Open Letter To Open Society Foundation

The Open Society Public Health Program invites concept forms from civil society organizations and networks that seek to advance the health and human rights of sex workers in Europe. Marginalized by stigma and criminalization, sex workers face enormous obstacles to realizing their human rights, and oppression has led to extreme levels of violence, disease, and exploitation. Justice and health systems routinely fail sex workers, and at times compound their marginalization through harmful law enforcement practices and insurmountable barriers to health care. Sex worker organizing is sometimes vilified, further exacerbating problems related to workplace health and safety. The myriad of health challenges sex workers face cannot be addressed squarely within the health system, and the structural—and often political—determinants of sex worker health extend far beyond health care.

UUPLAN: Victims of Human Trafficking are not Criminals

UUPLAN's Anti-Mass Incarceration Team has agreed to support SB 554 - Safe Harbor in Human Trafficking.  This bill would send minors who are victims of sex trafficking to treatment rather than prosecuting them. The bill was introduced by Senator Greenleaf and has passed the Senate (50-0). It has been referred to House Judiciary Committee which has not yet scheduled a hearing.

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 | Community for Incarcerated Sex Workers

“At SWOP Behind Bars (SBB), along with COYOTEri and ESPU-Philly, we know these are not easy situations to understand and to determine the right and wrong of — “, offers M. Dante, who believes: “Protecting our youth from punitive abuse is as essential as protecting them from predators.”