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

PRESS RELEASE

Contacts: 

Janet Duran (212) 882-1161/N’Jaila Rhee newjerseyrua@gmail.com

P. Saunders, bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com

Cris Sardina, director@desireealliance.org

Akynos, blackSWCollective@protonmail.com

Monica Jones, theoutlawprojectinc@gmail.com

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: http://www.bestpracticespolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/SWCoalition_UPR36_USA_2019.pdf

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

To learn more about the UPR process visit:  tinyurl.com/UPR2020info

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.

SIGN A PETITION: REPEAL FOSTA/SESTA

We are raising awareness about a new petition developed by the Sex Workers Project and the Daily Kos. Please sign the petition if you are concerned about S.1693 Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and H.R. 1865 Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA). This legislation limits the sharing of vital safety information for communities of sex workers and limits advertising options for sex workers. Studies have shown that the more pressure placed on sex workers to prevent them from accessing income, the more health and rights are imperiled. Specifically, FOSTA/SESTA limits Section 230 — which was originally established to protect online platforms from liability over users’ free speech (ie sex work) — forcing platforms to ban sex workers or use of their apps for sex work (or anything that could be perceived as sex work). Congress has put sex workers — many of whom are trans women of color — and other communities at risk, chilling our free speech and further infringing upon our human right to work.

Please note: The message to Congress associated with this petition effort is clear and we are in full support. However, this is a collaborative effort and some statements in the educational materials are not the terms or approach that BPPP normally uses in regards to street based work (which we do not stigmatize as more “negative” than indoor work because we follow the leadership of street workers themselves on these issues and because we believe that all have a right to be in public space without stigma) and in the use of the term “client” (anyone who perpetrates abuse and rights violations is not a “potential client” but a rights violator). Street based sex workers have a long tradition of organizing for safety and community even in the face of unimaginable levels of policing and stigma. In this fight to repeal FOSTA/SESTA there is much we can learn from the decades of resistance from the street.