Report to the UN Human Rights Council Periodic Review UPR: We Want Our Voices Heard!

The Black Sex Worker Collective (BSWC), the Outlaw Project, New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance (NJRUA), Best Practices Policy Project (BPPP), and Desiree Alliance, are calling on sex workers rights advocates and allies to join us letting the world know about the abuses sex workers face in the United States. We are collecting information from sex workers and organizations and are happy to meet in person, talk on the phone, text, receive information by email and reports via our online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/UPR2020 (deadline to fill out the survey is September 12, 2019).

What is the UPR? The United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a 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. By September 2019 we will write a report on the human rights abuses sex workers face and sex workers will then travel to Geneva, Switzerland to speak to member countries about the criminalization of our communities.

The US 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 US obligation to eliminate racial discrimination.

It is well known that the US violates these rights on a routine basis when it comes to sex workers, or people profiled by the police, social workers and service providers as sex workers. The UPR provides a space for the world to hear about how the US has violated human rights over the past four years. Due to the current policy approaches in the US, we plan to include in our report information about the experiences of migrants, trans folks, people in street economies and document the economic impacts of US policies worldwide, but having said that we want to hear from every one and about every issue

Fill out the survey or email us to set up a time to speak:  bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com, blackSWCollective@protonmail.com, newjerseyrua@gmail.com, director@desireealliance.org, theoutlawprojectinc@gmail.com
We will be collecting information until September 12, 2019.

Why is the UPR important? In2010, BPPP and Desiree Alliance submitted the first shadow report to the U.N. Human Rights Council outlining human rights violations, e.g., police abuse and targeting, institutionalized discrimination, lack of legal protection, and violence ignored by the local governments.  As a result of the report and advocates speaking out in Geneva before the U.N. Human Rights Council, the US adopted Recommendation 86, which states that the US agrees to:  

Undertake awareness-raising campaigns for combating stereotypes and violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people, and ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of sex workers to violence and human rights abuses.

This was the first time the U.S. agreed to address sex workers’ rights violations directly at the U.N. However, we have seen very little change since the adoption of the recommendation.  Sex workers continue to experience violence, stigma, discrimination, and targeting, especially at the hands of the police and the criminal justice systems. We want to hold the U.S. Government responsible for not fulfilling its obligations in accordance with Recommendation 86.  We want to further highlight issues that continue to go unreported. 

NJ: Strategy to Address Serial Abuser

Please also see more information at www.njrua.org.

INITIAL PUBLIC Strategy Statement

NJRUA and BPPP will take the following steps to address the serial abuser usually referred to as “Joey” in New Jersey. At all times we center the safety and healing of victims of his abuse and will proceed carefully to ensure that we do no harm. We are organizations led and guided by people of color, trans people, and immigrants and center our work on addressing racism and privilege.

At our June 22, 2019 strategy meeting we created the following work in progress strategy. Some strategy is confidential and not included here. We will update this weekly to address new circumstances. If you wish to be in solidarity with us then please send us an email to newjerseyrua@gmail.com and bestpracticespolicyproject@gmail.com  with who you are and what kind of support you can offer and we will add you as a supporter of this strategy if helpful to the campaign. We are two small sex worker led organizations (one of us is without any funding) and we have no staff. Keep that in mind in terms of our ability to get back to you.

Action Items:

-provide referral and support to community members who have been victimized by this abuser

-creating a profile of the abuser: senior editor on the profile page will be Janet Duran of NJRUA who will do the final editing of the profile

-alert webpage (in progress)

-pinned tweet on Twitter with his info and a warning

-street and campus outreach distribution of updated flier from our archives

-an alert to nation with his profile, MO and other information (via BPPP to every group working with people who might be affected by this abuser)

-liaison and MOUs with lawyers: we are currently in contact with two attorneys and should they wish to work with us officially we will create agreements with them so that sex worker and victim rights are central (pls update us with any lawyers who may be of interest)

-press release and reach out to media

-liaison with SVU in NJ (NJRUA already has a relationship with SVU)

-ensure inclusion of this case in UPR National Report to the United Nations

-direct action that would bring justice and an end to the actions of this abuser

Current Supporters of this strategy are: NJRUA (leadership in NJ), BPPP (leadership based in NJ), The Outlaw Project (supporters), the Black Sex Worker Collective (supporters), Desiree Alliance (supporters).


Women’s March 2019

The original Women’s March two years ago was at first embracing of the rights of sex workers, and then became a contested space in a painful–if temporary–exclusion of sex workers from the event. Since that moment, some local manifestations of the event have made efforts to include sex workers and communities of people affected by criminalization of sex work and public space. This year our partner organization New Jersey Red Umbrella Alliance (NJRUA) and GenderFabulous are official hosts for the WOMEN’S MARCH ON NEW JERSEY 2019 and are on the Steering Committee. NJRUA leadership has asked us to share this news with groups far and wide and to note that it would be, “powerful if we sex workers and allies could show up and out together.” Please join us in New Jersey!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-womens-march-on-new-jersey-tickets-52964136157/amp

Bus.com is offering service to and from the Women’s March on NJ. To explore departure points and pricing, please visit them at https://www.bus.com/events/womens-march-nj.

Puta Dei Week in NY and NJ

June 2 is International Whores Day and we are supporting/attending a series of events in the spirit of the day. In the 1970s sex workers occupied a church in France to raise awareness of their rights. In Brazil this day is called “Puta Dei.”

The celebration of Puta Dei Week will kick off with a Yoga Fundraiser on Saturday May 26, 2018. Join PJ Starr, Monica Jones and Munah of Munahology for yoga for MonicaUmbrellaDownTown2013_byPJStarrbrunch and brunch in Morristown, NJ. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support PJ Starr’s upcoming film about Monica Jones, who will attend the event as a special guest. The funds gathered from this event will be used to produce a film trailer and a work progress sample, in addition to helping Director PJ Starr raise awareness and advocate for this project within the film industry. The documentary follows Monica Jones and her four years within the higher education system following her arrest for speaking out against police brutality. The inspiring film details Monica Jones’ experience as she lives through and confronts the violence imposed on transgender individuals and overcomes institutionalized systems of power.Resistance Redux Instagram 1

This Monday, end your Memorial Day at the . Held at the Love Shack in Brooklyn the event is free and open to all sex worker community members and allies. The Love Shack is a unique and unusual space that resembles two, life-size doll houses. Among some of the films featured will be She’s A Bitch, (2018, USA), Puta Mestiza (2014 Spain), The Honey Bringer (2012, UK), Raising Red Umbrellas in Africa (2016 Kenya, and What You Don’t See (2017, Brazil).

Next, join the Black Sex Worker Collective at Dorsettbk (677 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11238) at 9 pm on Thursday, May 31st for the Essence of Koffee Burlesque and Variety Show. The event will be feature many special guests, including master twerker Jantina, spoken word artist Rude Bwoy, illustrator and author Jacq the Stripper and burlesque darling Audrey Loved. Hosted by the founder of the Black Sex Worker Collective (and “beast of burlesque”) MF Akynos, the Essence of Koffee Bar Burlesque and Variety Show will support the Black Sex Worker Collective in their efforts to provide a welcoming and open space for black sex workers. In an era of violence against people of color, sex workers and transgender individuals, the event comes at a time when it is imperative to lift the voices of black sex workers up. In addition, the Essence of Koffee Burlesque and Variety show during Puta Dei Week aims to raise awareness for and push back against the new FOSTA/SESTA legislation that further marginalizes sex workers.  To learn more about the event and RSVP, visit the facebook event page.

Lastly, if you are a fan of performance art, a sex worker community member or ally, or looking to take BSWC_June2Eventaction, head to Washington Square Park to join the Black Sex Worker Collective as they and supporters storm Judson Church on June 2nd from noon until 3 PM. Puta Dei Week was created in honor of the work that French Sex Workers did in the 1970s.  This event will play particular homage to the protests of French activists in church, as it is a protest at Judson Church in New York City, which has a long history of supporting sex workers. The event will feature what is being dubbed “Whore in a Box.” As an exhibition of performance art, it will feature someone within the sex worker community in physically constraining space. Attendees will be able to ask question of the “Whore in a Box” as well purchase Whore Merchandise. Join us for this, and all the aforementioned events, to celebrate Puta Dei Week this year.