Decriminalize Sex Work www.DecriminalizeSex.Work Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications email@example.com (919) 649-7725 (cell) NEW YORK, NY March 26, 2019
Sex Workers Are Organizing Against Proposed Prostitution Registry in Florida
Half a dozen sex worker rights activists traveled from all over Florida to fight a proposed law that will target them and their clients. They are building a coalition of organizations to fight efforts to increase surveillance and policing of the oldest profession, including a new prostitution registry which would permanently and publicly list anyone arrested for prostitution-related offenses.
Florida Senate Bill 540 and House Bill 851 falsely claim to be trying to help victims of human trafficking, but sex workers know that these laws will only make violence and exploitation within the sex industry worse. Alex Andrews from SWOP Behind Bars has been fighting for people incarcerated for prostitution for 11 years, she’s seen up close the devastating effects of criminalization.
Andrews said, “These lawmakers think they’re helping but they won’t listen to us. We know how to stop trafficking, we can start by stopping the arrests for prostitution.”
Grace Taylor, who traveled from Tampa, told legislators that “They need to listen to sex workers. I’ve been a sex worker for over 15 years, I’m in my 50’s. Listen to me.”
Christine Hanavan traveled from Orlando to explain to her elected officials that policing prostitution doesn’t help anyone, least of all victims of trafficking. Hanavan said, “Our concerns are for survivors and current victims of human trafficking in the sex industry, adult consensual sex workers, and people who don’t fit neatly into one category. All of us share the goal of ending human trafficking. All of us want better services for victims and survivors.”
Six brave women are speaking to their elected representatives in Florida today. Let’s see if their legislators can hear them. They are joined by Florida National Organization for Women (NOW,) the National Center for Transgender Equality, Positive Women’s Network-USA, Restorative Justice Coalition, Sex Worker Solidarity Network, Sex Worker Outreach Program (SWOP) Behind Bars, SWOP Tampa & SWOP Orlando.
Decriminalize Sex Work www.DecriminalizeSex.Work Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications firstname.lastname@example.org (919) 649-7725 (cell) NEW YORK, NY March 7, 2019
Eight Women Charged With Prostitution After “Rescue Operation”
Only one woman arrested during the much acclaimed “rescue operation” in South Florida last week is willing to cooperate with police. So instead of being rescued, eight women are now being charged with prostitution and related crimes.
The police have spent the last week bragging about their role in breaking up a “multi billion dollar international sex trafficking ring.” They had a splashy press conference and they named and shamed a lot of men who paid for hand jobs over the course of their investigation.
After months of surveillance, there is no evidence of trafficking and no one is being charged with those crimes. Instead, eight women were handcuffed and humiliated; their assets have been seized; and they have all been charged with prostitution. Decriminalize Sex Work Director of Communications Kaytlin Bailey says, “The police have the audacity to call these bullying tactics a rescue operation.”
Multiple agencies in South Florida have spent the better part of a year investigating three massage parlors and determined that on average, once every three days a licensed, legally working masseur helps her client achieve ejaculation. Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars went toward this discovery.
There were no complaints from the spa’s neighbors or passersby. The only complaint seemed to be that there weren’t enough hand jobs happening on the premises. More than half of the Yelp reviews expressed disappointment that they had wanted sexual contact but did not receive it. Some clients did receive sexual contact. And some of that contact was with undercover police officers who felt it necessary to have their balls touched before arresting these “sex slaves.”
On November 26, 2017, the NYPD tried to “rescue” Yang Song in Flushing, Queens. She threw herself out of a third story window and fell to her death. She landed at the foot of the undercover police officer who moments before was trying to entrap her. Bailey continues, “These officers are not heroes, they’re bullies. They literally kill the women they claim to be rescuing.”
Decriminalize Sex Work www.DecriminalizeSex.Work Contact Kaytlin Bailey, Director of Communications email@example.com (919) 649-7725 (cell) NEW YORK, NEW YORK March 5, 2019
Ohio Vice Cop Forces Women to Choose Between Arrest and Rape
The criminalization of sex workers makes them more vulnerable to predators who want to rape or kill them. Andrew Mitchell, the Ohio police officer who murdered single mother and sex worker Donna Dalton after trapping her in his unmarked vehicle last August, has been arrested by the FBI for kidnapping and raping multiple women. The Columbus, Ohio, vice cop is accused of trapping women “under the guise of an arrest,” transporting them to another location, and offering his victims freedom in exchange for oral, vaginal and anal sex.
Kaytlin Bailey, director of communications for Decriminalize Sex Work, says, “The criminalization of sex work perverts the power of police officers, and enables predators like Mitchell to prey on women instead of protecting them.”
Crystal DeBoise, an anti-trafficking expert and advocate, says “Although U.S. police departments don’t release information about their officers having sexual contact with sex workers, in my 10 years of providing direct social services to sex workers, I can tell you that at least 40% have been forced or coerced into sexual contact with a police officer.”
There is also no national data on how many police officers have abused sex workers, or suspected sex workers. In many states it is legal for law enforcement officers to make sexual contact with those suspected of prostitution and then use that sexual contact to make an arrest. In any other context we would call this what it is, rape. Bailey says, “Police officers are already literally hunting prostitutes.”
Bailey concludes, “The difference between what Mitchell did and what police departments are asked to do all over the country is how much paperwork was involved.”
A new lawsuit from an anti-trafficking activist against Nevada threatens the operation of the state’s legal brothel system. The suit claims that Nevada’s brothels violate a pair of laws that prohibit encouraging anyone to cross state lines to engage in prostitution. (The Washington Post, March 3, 2019)