Navigating AIDS2020 (first steps)

Breaking down barriers to attend International AIDS Conferences is a central element of BPPP’s work. Attending the conferences allows sex worker, drug user, indigenous and trans rights representatives, who have been marginalized repeatedly in the HIV/AIDS discourse, to forge global connections, protest, educate and be heard. The International AIDS Society has made the incorrect decision to host AIDS2020 in San Francisco in ways that even further marginalize our communities and place global attendees at risk should they attempt to enter the United States at a time of violence and oppression at US borders.

One of BPPP’s key partners in HIV/AIDS policy work is the Outlaw Project. We have been vocal participants in actions to pressure to move the conference from San Francisco. Now that official AIDS2020 deadlines approach we want to share our thinking with community members who may be struggling with what steps to take. Our approach is that our communities are NOT to blame for the mistakes of the IAS and we will not shame or question decisions people make to have their voices heard or to protest. This is their mess, not ours. We encourage people from our communities to apply to present in all aspects of AIDS2020 (deadline for Abstracts is January 14, 2020) and to apply for a scholarship by January 15, 2020 (11:59pm CET/5:59pm EST/2:59pm PST). This is called “getting a foot in the door” so that we will have space and whatever funds available to get activists to San Francisco as needs be. We will not be silent. We will be reaching out and working with local groups in San Francisco to follow their lead and sharing resources so that people who choose to go to AIDS2020, know the risks they are facing, have the best accommodation possible and are in solidarity with local organizations. Please reach out to us at if you need any help applying for AIDS2020 and check out our webinar recording from 2018 about how to apply.

#Move! Secondly, we support alternate conference sites in countries other than the US and we will also be fundraising for people to go to these alternate conferences just as we did for AIDS2012. However, relatively few members of our community can travel due to restrictions on travel documents placed on our US based members because of the prison industrial complex and other oppression. We support actions inside and outside of the US to hold AIDS2020, the US and the IAS accountable.

Please reach out to us at if you have any coalition you would like us to join or if you would like to join with us. We are working with numerous organizations not listed here who inform our approach.

Donate to Our UN Journey: $1000 goal

WE NEED YOUR TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS to support a sex workers of color-led rights team to the UN. As part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) sex worker rights advocates have submitted a national report to the United Nations about the violations of our rights over the last five years. The next step is that sex worker rights leaders will travel to Geneva, Switzerland to speak to member countries about the criminalization of our communities. Our UN team will be led by Black transgender women, specifically experienced UN advocate Monica Jones, supporting the advocacy of Black leaders such as N’Jaila Rhee, Jiselle and Akynos who will be traveling to Geneva for the very first time.

When donating please list “UPR” in the “add special instructions” line in order to earmark your donation to support the team, as per the example below. Donated and forgot to type in UPR in the special instructions line? Send us an email and we will make sure to use the money for the team.

Checks can be made out to and mailed to our fiscal sponsor Social and Environmental Entrepreneursat 23532 Calabasas Road, Suite A, Calabasas, CA 91302. Please be sure to write checks payable to SEE and write “Best Practices Policy Project” in the memo line.

PRESS RELEASE: Sex Worker Rights Groups tell the United Nations how the U.S. violates human rights



Janet Duran (212) 882-1161/N’Jaila Rhee

P. Saunders,

Cris Sardina,


Monica Jones,

Sex Worker Rights Groups tell the United Nations how the U.S. violates human rights

Newark, NJ – October 3rd, 2019  – Today, the Black Sex Worker Collective, the Outlaw Project, Desiree Alliance, BPPP and New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance submitted a shadow report to the United Nations.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a United Nations session to hold member countries responsible for their human rights records. The United States is being reviewed in 2020 for the first time in five years. Today we submitted a 10 page shadow report to the United Nations about the human rights abuses sex workers face and in the coming months sex workers will travel to Geneva, Switzerland to speak to member countries about the criminalization of our communities.

“We are calling on the United States to immediately end the atrocities of current border policies in the United States that impact all immigrants, including sex workers,” says Janet Duran of New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance. “Our report documents the death of migrant sex workers at the hands of state agents, the incarceration of migrant sex workers in rights violating detention centers, and the deportation of vulnerable people back into harm’s way. The deaths of people like Yang Song and Roxsana Hernandez must not happen again.”

The U.S. is obligated to uphold everyone’s human rights, including the rights to housing, education and healthcare; the right to be free from arbitrary arrest, due process violations, and invasions of privacy; the right to be free from torture and inhumane treatment; the rights of migrants; as well as rights related to the U.S. obligation to eliminate racial discrimination. The U.S. violates these rights on a routine basis when it comes to sex workers and people in the sex trade. The UPR provides a space for the world to hear about how the U.S. has violated human rights over the past four years. 

“The U.S. government has engaged in a sustained campaign to roll back the rights of transgender people and we are calling out these abuses at the UN so that the world will learn what is happening,” says Monica Jones, founder of the Arizona based Outlaw Project, “We believe that member states of the UN will agree that it is time to put an end to anti-sex work policing practices targeting transgender people.”

To download a full copy of the report pls visit:

To download a short one page summary of the report pls visit:

To learn more about the UPR process visit:

Key Facts About Human Rights Violations & Sex Work ~ For the 2020 UPR of the U.S.A.

Our organizations are members of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) and so have been offered the opportunity to include some of our key concerns in the network’s report. BPPP, NJRUA, BSWC, Desiree Alliance and the Outlaw Project created the summary to send to the USHRN this last week.

Throughout the U.S., criminalization and stigmatization of sex workers, and those profiled as such, prevents them from exercising their human rights. Violations include: violence perpetrated by law enforcement and ICE; cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment during incarceration; denial of due process and protection in the justice system; denial of rights to housing, healthcare, reproductive rights, education, income, employment and economic justice. People of color, transgender people, migrants, street based sex workers, homeless, youth, and people living with HIV/AIDS bear a high burden of these violations. U.S. policies undermine the health and rights of sex workers internationally by requiring that organizations seeking funding adopt a policy against sex work. Additionally. in 2018 the U.S. passed rights violating restrictions via the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). This legislation limits the sharing of vital safety information for sex workers online and causes economic harm and social marginalization. The current U.S. administration is violating the rights of immigrants. The intersection of this with anti-prostitution policies has resulted in the death of migrant sex workers at the hands of state agents, the incarceration of migrant sex workers in rights violating detention centers, and deportation. The U.S. government has engaged in a sustained campaign to roll back the rights of transgender people. Transgender people are assumed to be sex workers by the authorities, leading to incarceration and immigration detention, where they are harmed, highly vulnerable to sexual assaults, and killed.

Photo by PJ Starr, September 20, 2019

Previous UN Body Recommendations: In prior UPR process, the U.S. accepted Recommendation 
86, requiring it to “[u]ndertake awareness‐raising campaigns
 for combating stereotypes and violence against [LGBT people] 
and ensure access to public services, paying attention to the
 special vulnerability of sex workers to violence and human rights abuses.” The U.S has pursued policies that directly contradict this commitment, putting sex workers at heightened risk of human rights abuses. In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee challenged the U.S. Justice Department’s claim that arresting people for sex work is a humane or effective way to fight trafficking, and called on the U.S. to align its anti-trafficking initiatives with human rights norms, which reject criminalizing sex workers.

Key Recommendations for inclusion via USHRN: The United States of America should:

  • End the criminalization of sex workers lives by full decriminalization (anti-criminalization) of sex work and eliminate policies, such as “zero tolerance” of prostitution, “prostitution free zones,” and loitering measures, that undermine protection of and respect for human rights of sex workers. Sex workers should also be able to expunge any criminal records relating to these laws.
  • Vigorously investigate and put an end to policing practices targeting transgender people.
  • Repeal SESTA/FOSTA and eliminate other federal policies that conflate sex work and human trafficking and prevent sex workers from accessing services such as healthcare, HIV services and support.
  • Address the atrocities of current immigration and migration border policies in the United States. Migrant and immigrant sex workers are especially affected by these laws as they are under no protections of federal guidelines. 
  • Remove “participation in prostitution” as grounds for removal from the country, from the category of “crimes of moral turpitude” and as grounds for denying visas/legal status to individuals seeking to visit, reside in, or become citizens of the United States.