DSW and Allies Gear Up for Legislative Session in Rhode Island

November 2, 2019

DSW grantee COYOTE-RI (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics) hosted a coalition meeting with human-rights activists in Providence, RI. DSW’s Melissa Broudo met with local organizations that are working to improve the lives of Rhode Island’s most vulnerable communities. The coalition outlined a strategy for the upcoming state legislative session. DSW and allies are proposing bills that would promote the health, safety, and rights of sex workers and trafficking survivors in the Ocean State.

DSW values these partnerships, which deepen our understanding of how prostitution legislation affects communities and individuals at state and municipal levels. The meeting included representatives from the Alliance to Mobilize Our Resistance (AMOR) RI, Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Behind The Walls Committee, and COYOTE-RI. AMOR is an admirable coalition of grassroots organizations that work to resist individual and state-sponsored violence at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and immigration status. DARE is a Providence-based organization that organizes community members for social, political, and economic justice.

The voices and interests of impacted communities must be central to the legislation DSW drafts. Organizers had a productive and edifying conversation about the next steps for promoting harm-reduction, rights-based legislation for sex workers in Rhode Island. DSW is grateful to COYOTE-RI for organizing this meeting.

DSW’s Melissa Broudo (left) is pictured with Bella Robinson (right) of COYOTE-RI, as well as allies from AMOR and DARE.

RI Legislators Hear From Experts On Impact of Prostitution Laws

COYOTE Rhode Island

Contact Bella Robinson, Executive Director
(401) 525-8757  (cell)
Providence, RI
April 30, 2019

RI Legislators Hear From Experts On Impact of Prostitution Laws

The Rhode Island legislature is considering a bill (HB 5354) sponsored by Chairwoman Anastasia Williams to create a special study commission to review the health and safety impact of commercial sexual activity laws. In a historic moment, the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee will hear from a broad range of experts and advocates about the impact criminal prostitution laws have had on our community. Research indicates a clear correlation between repressive policing and negative health and safety outcomes.

On April 30th, 2019, shortly after 4pm, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from Dame Catherine Healy, New Zealand Order of Merit, who will tell legislators what happened after New Zealand decriminalized sex work in 2003. Scott Cunningham, PhD, Professor, Baylor University who studied the impact that decriminalizing indoor sex work in RI has had on rates of sexually transmitted infections and sexual assault.

The committee will also hear from members of COYOTE-RI including Elena Shih, PhD, Assistant Professor at Brown University, Bella Robinson, the Executive Director of COYOTE-RI, Meghan Peterson, an MPH candidate at Brown University, Yeonhoo Cho, a student, Brown University, Malana Krongelb, a student, Brown University, and Dayana Tavarez, a student, Brown University.

Also testifying will be Philip Chan, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Brown University & Medical Director of Rhode Island STD Clinic, Katherine Kerwin, Providence City Council, Kate Mogulescu, JD, Assistant Professor, Brooklyn Law School & Founder of the Legal Aid Society’s Exploitation Intervention Unit, Jillian Modzeleski, JD, Senior Trial Attorney in Charge of the Human Trafficking Intervention Court, Jill McCracken, PhD, Associate Professor, University of South Florida and Melissa Broudo, JD, MPH, Co Director of SOAR Institute.

We cannot continue to support policies that sound good on paper, but actually do a disservice to the people they aim to support. In this case, we aim to engage in research and study this issue further to ensure our laws support all people engaged in the sex industry.