Monica Jones calls for justice for #13blackwomen

The following call to action is from human rights advocate Monica Jones. Find her on Facebook and twitter to follow this call to action:

There is a tragedy that happened. 13 black women of African descent were sexually assaulted by white police officer 13BlackWomenDaniel Holtzclaw. This monster is on trial and being judged by a jury of his peers, a jury of 8 white men and 4 white women. His attorney has described him as an “all-American good guy” and said his accusers have “street smarts like you can’t imagine.”

What does this disparaging statement about having “street smarts” really mean?

The women he targeted were marginalized, many had been arrested before and had been charged with doing sex work and/or with using or having drugs. His method of finding victims was based on finding women who had these kinds of charges, this is the reason he chose them.

One of his victims said that reason she did not come forward was because “I didn’t think anyone would believe me.” Most of the 13 women said the same thing. That no one would believe them.

This is the reason why most sex workers and marginalized victims do not come forward, because they are afraid that their voices will not be heard. With him being a white male, with him being a police officer and them being black and marginalized, they feared that they would be discounted.

Sadly their statements are TRUE. There has not been any national outcry about this racially motivated, class-based, gender-based sexual violence perpetrated by a white male police officer. Most importantly the women had records. They were criminalized already.

We can resist this silence and raise our voices to highlight the violence against these women, because no one should be denied justice because of their “criminal record.” The injustice system criminalizes all marginalized people, no matter what they do.

Join us in seeking more media coverage about this and similar cases. We need for sex worker organizations to rise up in defense of these women. We need people of color organizations to rise up and fight back. We need women’s rights, human rights, anti-violence and anti-sexual assault groups to join us. This is how you can do this:

  • by blacking out your FB profile picture or using the profile picture attached

  • using the #13blackwomen on social media when sharing this story

  • tweet for national media coverage, asking why there is no coverage?

  • resisting the stigmatizing of these women because of the charges that have been placed on them for sex work and drug use

  • write press releases, opinion pieces, blog posts

  • if you are a journalist or connected to the press, write a feature article about this story

  • start a petition asking for media coverage and that the DOJ to look into this case.





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New York, NY, November 10, 2015—LGBT+ community groups will host a town hall at the LGBT Center on 13th St. in Manhattan at 6 PM to 8:30 PM, November 11, 2015.

These groups seek to organize against the August 25, 2015 raid by the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the NYPD in the larger context of the epidemic of violence against our communities while basic needs for housing, living wages, and affirming medical care remain unmet. These disparities overwhelmingly target people of color, especially women, trans-women and gender non-conforming people of color.

From 6 PM to 7:30 PM, discussants will raise awareness about the Rentboy raid as well as community-based campaigns for policy reform that include people in the sex trades, at the federal, state, and local level.

From 7:30 to 8:30 PM, forum participants will break into three working group sessions focused on policy advocacy, community organizing and actions, and litigation and legal services. The working group portion of the event is closed to the press.

Contact: Rico Stone, (c)

Sponsors:       #HookUp Collaborative,; ACT-UP/NY,; Best Practices Policy Project,; Red Umbrella Project,


This event is not affiliated with any company or organization, but is instead organized by a loose working group of people who have advertised, and people in community with advertisers, on

Second UPR of US: Minimal Talk and No Action on Rec 86

During the first Universal Periodic Review of the United States in 2010, the Human Rights Council at the United Nations made Recommendation 86 to the United States to “…ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sexual workers to violence and human rights abuses.” The Obama Administration accepted the recommendation stating, “we agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution…” This position was repeated earlier this year in preparations for the 2015 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United States. However, now that the United States has made no mention of sex workers rights in its official response to the 2015 UPR, sex worker advocates are frustrated that there is no sign that Recommendation 86 will actually be implemented. Our concern is that the United States is failing to ensure that the human rights of sex workers are protected and that the systematic violations of sex workers–and people profiled as such–that have been documented by our organizations continue with impunity.

While other recommendations are followed up with plans of action, the U.S. government has failed to make any plans on actually implementing Recommendation 86 and ensuring sex workers have access to public services to ensure safety.

Unfortunately, sex workers continue to experience violence and extreme forms of discrimination from state actors across the country. In May of 2013, Monica Jones, a transgender woman of color in Phoenix, was arrested for “manifestation of prostitution” while on her way to a LGBT venue. These kinds of arrest are a common practice in which law enforcement profiles trans feminine people of color as sex workers. In late 2014, the North Jersey Regional Director of the New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance was unconstitutionally arrested in relation to her prior prostitution charge with claims of an active warrant which were later discovered to be false. These actions were likely taken in retaliation for her efforts to speak out against police violence. In Alaska, anti-trafficking rhetoric has become so radioactive that Amber Batts was found guilty of trafficking herself. This is the reality that sex workers and people profiled as such have to endure.

The continuing human rights violations that sex workers experience are a direct result of the inaction the United States government has taken to address our concerns. The federal government has the capacity to set restrictions on human trafficking funding so they go to people who actually have been coerced in their labor, and not into the hands of law enforcement efforts that are incompatible with addressing these issues or towards forcing people out of the sex trade who do not want to leave. The federal government can end travel restrictions on those who trade sex that are often enforced in ways that reinforce racial stereotypes. Importantly, the federal government has the ability to formally recognize the labor of sex work and allow labor violations to be reported.

If the government is serious about enforcing Recommendation 86, then the sex worker community requires a plan of action, as current policies run contrary to their rhetoric that sex workers should not be discriminated against. This plan should incorporate ways to work with state and local governments to reverse the trend of using laws against prostitution, solicitation, and loitering to harass sex workers and those perceived to be sex workers. Sex workers want the talk about rights to result in meaningful action.

By Derek Demeri, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance; Penelope Saunders, Best Practices Policy Project; and Cristine Sardina, Desiree Alliance.

Call For Solidarity in the Wake of Homeland Security Raid and Arrests at RentBoy

In the weeks since the raid of RentBoy in August 2015 we have worked to show solidarity with those arrested while raising awareness about the broader issues of how sex workers and people in the sex trade are policed and how law enforcement works systematically to target people of color, immigrants, LGBTIQ and other communities. Please join our call for solidarity by sending an email to and stay tuned for forthcoming events and actions about the issue.

Call For Solidarity in the Wake of Homeland Security Raid and Arrests at RentBoy: Human Rights for Sex Workers and all People Targeted by Policing and Surveillance

We the undersigned condemn Homeland Security’s raid and arrests at the Rentboy office in New York and demand immediate dismissal of criminal charges against the Rentboy staff. We offer up a unifying call to work together to increase awareness of the long history of human rights organizing by sex workers and by others who face homophobic, transphobic, and racist policing. This raid causes us to recall the history of policing of sexuality by unconstitutional laws against “sodomy” and “crimes against nature.”  We also place this latest raid in a broader context of actions carried out by a richly resourced police and surveillance apparatus that profiles, imprisons, tortures and kills migrants, Muslims, people of color, people with no and low incomes, people with disabilities, dissidents, and LGBTIQ people.

Many are now calling for “decriminalization of sex work.” We are aware that some forms of “decriminalization” can actually leave many communities even more vulnerable to police abuse and arrest. Law enforcement will target any communities perceived to be “left out” of law reform efforts with greater force as policing resources are refocused in the wake of reform. We therefore commit to fighting for solutions that account for all the ways that people are vulnerable to policing and imprisonment. Demands must come from those most directly impacted by stigma, policing and prisons; including sex workers and people in sex trades, people of color, migrants, people living with HIV/AIDS, and LGBTIQ communities, particularly transgender women of color.

We support progressive changes to all the laws and policies that are used to oppress sex workers and people profiled as sex workers. This means that we demand that change be sufficient to, for example, protect queer youth of color who are discriminatorily targeted for “stop and frisk” by police, abused, and arrested for sex work, or for “loitering” or other “quality of life” offenses. If migrant sex workers or migrants profiled as sex workers can still be locked up in ICE detention facilities, or denied basic necessities because of border imperialism, any decriminalization campaign will be far from complete. If transgender women of color can be profiled as sex workers just for walking down the street and arrested, our struggle for justice is unfinished.

Sex workers and people in the sex trades throughout the country have a long history of organizing against the many forms of abuse they face as a result of stigma and criminalization. For years, they have worked to draw attention to the fact that police rape, assault, harass, and extort sex workers and those presumed to be sex workers, with impunity. They have shared their stories of being denied justice for rape or other violence committed against them, all because of their sex worker status. They have decried the harmful effects of arrest and imprisonment, which include denial of housing, education and other benefits, not to mention violence they endure while detained.

Federal, state and local governments continue to heap resources onto these same abusive police and justice systems. Today, arrests, discrimination and abuse are often endorsed by funds distributed to law enforcement in the name of “fighting trafficking.” Indeed, the federal government’s model state legislation on addressing trafficking calls for jail sentences for sex workers. We know that this approach to potential coercion in any labor sector does not help people secure their human rights, and that the inaccurate conflation of all sex work with trafficking denies sex workers the room to organize for better conditions.

We reject “solutions” that do nothing more than increase resources for the same police forces that abuse our communities. We also reject the notion that sex workers are either “victims or whores” who must be jailed—a flawed paradigm that has justified sex workers’ continued exclusion from debates and decision-making that directly impact their lives. It is sex workers and people in the sex trades themselves who must have the right to determine the extent and nature of state intervention that they may want in their lives, rather than having such interventions imposed on them by people who view them in this limited paradigm.
We commit to working in broad alliance for the human rights of sex workers and people in the sex trades, with special attention to lifting up and supporting the voices and leadership of those communities most directly impacted by stigma and criminalization.


Best Practices Policy Project

New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance

BAYSWAN (Bay Area Sex Worker Advocacy Network)

Desiree Alliance

Project SAFE, Philadelphia

SWOP Tampa Bay

SWOP Orlando

Please email to add your name to this list and to work in the solidarity in the months to come as the RentBoy case proceeds.